The Hawkeye

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Trick or Treating: Is it for everyone?

Lindee Cutler

Lindee Cutler

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As October begins, one very important topic comes to mind: Halloween. Ah yes, the beloved holiday of spooks and scares and the classic tradition of trick-or-treating.

What is trick-or-treating? Trick-or-treating, for the folks who don’t know, is when people, especially younger children, dress up in costume and go door to door in neighborhoods asking for candy from the residents with the classic phrase, “trick or treat!”

According to The Huffington Post, Halloween comes from a Celtic festival for the dead known as Samhain. It was believed that spirits would wander the Earth on this day causing mischief. The tradition began around the first century B.C.E., around the same time the Celts created the jack-o-lantern. Despite its Celtic origins, the holiday was eventually appropriated by Christian missionaries, who stripped it of its Irish culture.

Although it is a fun tradition that brings joy to many, the question remains: How old is too old for trick-or-treating?

When it comes to this question, there are many factors you need to consider—one being maturity. If you mature at a faster pace than your friends, then perhaps you’d get bored trick-or-treating. But if you mature slower than others around you, you’re more likely to keep trick-or-treating.

Another aspect is age. Now, this might not seem like such an important issue, but to the person you’re requesting candy from, this may seem different.

Imagine you’re at home on Halloween night and, suddenly, at your door, instead of a group of little kids, an adult wearing a costume arrives and asks you for candy. Weird, right? Absolutely. Even if you still feel like trick-or-treating at any age you want, others might not be as comfortable.

There are the optimistic people who believe you are never too old to go trick-or-treating. And there are those who say the appropriate age of 12-18 or, in high school, is the perfect time to stop. In fact, according to Time magazine, Canada has a law banning people older than 16 from trick-or-treating.

Sophomore Malia Dominique is one of the people who believes you are never too old to go trick-or-treating. “My opinion is that I think older kids can go trick-or-treating in a group if they are truly doing it to have fun, not to be reckless or something like that. If they go by themselves I feel like that’s also kind of weird. But teens can have some really cool costume ideas.”

Although some believe it may be acceptable to go trick-or-treating at any age you please, others would disagree.

But why do some parents limit their kids from trick-or-treating past a certain age?

Well, one factor in the age limit that some parents set is that parents are concerned about the safety of their children. Another thing to consider are the feelings of the children themselves and whether or not they’re comfortable enough to accept that people way bigger than them are out and about on Halloween night doing the same thing they are.

Most teenagers stop dressing up and trick-or-treating somewhere between the ages of 12 and 16 — but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad manners for them to go door-to-door, as long as they are polite while out on the streets.” Says Time columnist Mahita Gajanan. There are some limits, like costume choice and others’ discomfort, to what teenagers can do when it comes to trick-or-treating, but they might seem a bit restricting and take some of the fun away from trick-or-treating.

One thing that might have to change as we transition from our young, innocent and adorable selves into the people we are today, is costume choice. Costumes are one of the main ideas of Halloween that give the holiday its fun and spooky element. While some see Halloween as just a fall holiday meant for fun, others can get carried away with the sacred tradition, taking it too far and going all out on the whole idea of scaring others with their costume.

A teenager’s costume selection varies, since they can pull off not only children’s costumes, but adults as well. Whether its a penguin costume suited for a young child or something more fitting of the spooky vibe that matches the 31st, teenagers have a wider range as to what they can wear or want to wear.

And if a teenager decides to make a scary costume, they could end up spoiling Halloween for others, especially children. How would they feel if they see a big kid or even a full-grown adult running around their neighborhood in a scary costume on the scariest night of the year?

Sometimes kids get scared so badly that it makes them not enjoy the holiday anymore. It completely robs and ruins a child’s childhood by taking away their Halloween trick-or-treating experience. Although it may sound a little over the top, it’s may not completely false.

In the words of sophomore Lena Crummet, “We’re too old to go trick-or-treating because we’re in high school you only see little babies or young kids on the street with your families on the street trick or treating.”

That’s why some, myself included, think that the best age to stop trick-or-treating would be around the age of 12-15, because that’s when children start to become adults.

And that transition is important to the minds of kids nowadays since we have all these new technologies that can distract kids from what is actually a really fun, old tradition. Before, the young kids would love to play outside with their friends or go to the park or socialize. But currently, all kids want to do now is play video games or chat online with their buddies. Over the course of time, children’s interests change. Part of that change is from the world and its evolution as we arrive in the 21st century.

Another reason why the age of 12-15 would be an ideal time to stop trick-or-treating is for the sake of others as well. As already mentioned, younger children may get spooked by the sight of an older kid or even an adult wearing a scary costume trick-or-treating in the same neighborhoods as them.

Maybe it’s not even the kids who are afraid, but the parents.

Math teacher Dino Aristides, father of three, doesn’t like the idea of teenagers roaming the streets at night alongside his children as they trick-or-treat. All he has to say about it is, “oh god, that’s so creepy.” Many parents can get very worried this time of year due to past reports of older kids terrorizing little children on Halloween or making a mess of things and being irresponsible.

This year’s Halloween is estimated to have 41.1 million kids trick-or-treating nationwide according to The State Journal-Register, and 70% of parents, according to Protect America, a company that sells home security systems, don’t accompany their children while they go out trick-or-treating.

Now we circle back to the main question: How old is too old to go trick-or-treating? Now that you’ve heard from both sides, it’s time to decide for yourself. Are you on team Trick-Or-Treating Has No Limits? Or are you on team Trick-or-Treating Is For Kids Only?

In the end, for kids or not, trick-or-treating is a fun, classic Halloween tradition. Whatever you conclude at the end of reading this, just enjoy Halloween. After all, it is literally just going to people’s houses door to door and asking for their candy in a costume late at night.

All graphics by Memphis Ramerman.

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About the Contributors
Theresa Van, Staff Reporter
Theresa Van is a passionate freshman who is very much into writing of any sort, which was why she joined Hawkeye in the first place. Her favorite kind of writing is story writing, and she hopes to entrigue her audiences with her creative and long writing style.
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Trick or Treating: Is it for everyone?