Trick-or-treating should stop at age 13

Illustration: Thayer Sindelar · The Sentry

Illustration: Thayer Sindelar · The Sentry
Leave the candy for the children

It’s Halloween night, which means the day-old tradition of putting on Halloween costumes to go trick-or-treating for free candy has come and little princesses, pirates, and superheroes parade the neighborhoods in search of the best tricks and treats. But when the person handing out candy to the excited little ones answers the door to find a 16-year-old asking for candy, it shouldn’t be a surprise when they say, “Aren’t you a little old for this?”

There has been much debate on what age kids should stop trick-or-treating, but the answer to this question is simple: kids should stop trick-or-treating when they turn 13.

This argument has become so prevalent that some states, such as Virginia, have made it illegal for anyone 13 years or older to go trick-or-treating. More specifically, in the city of Hampton, Virginia, they state it is illegal for anyone over 12 to go trick-or-treating and that if caught, the person will face a misdemeanor charge. Mainly, these laws were created to keep teens from causing mischief on Halloween night.Virginia wanted to stop pumpkins from being stolen and smashed off porches and avoid houses from being TP-ed.   

While charging kids might be a little extreme, there should be a time when parents tell their kids to think of doing something else on Halloween. While some may argue teens are still kids and people should just let teens enjoy what’s left of their childhood, it’s hard to agree with those statements, because once kids reach 13, they are told that they need to be mature and act their age. In fact, in some cultures, when a child turns 13, they are making the transition into becoming a young adult; therefore, making age 13 a cutoff date for trick-or-treating is reasonable.

By the age of 13, most kids lose interest in dressing up on Halloween. Not only that, but once a kid is old enough to go out in the streets at night alone, they shouldn’t trick-or-treat. Compared to little kids going out trick-or-treating, they have a parent by their side watching their every move, but when it comes to teens, they are most likely not being supervised. This can result in far more tricks than treats, like taking more candy than their fair share or participating in the age-old tradition of TP-ing houses.

But this doesn’t mean teens must relinquish having fun on Halloween night; it just means that they should find something geared more toward their age. Some age appropriate Halloween activities include going to or throwing a Halloween party, having a scary movie marathon with some friends, or going out to haunted corn mazes and haunted houses.   

When it comes to trick-or-treating and whether older kids should participate in this Halloween tradition, it is best that if one is 13 years or older, they should engage in more age-appropriate activities and leave the trick-or-treating to the little kids.

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