How Old is Too Old to Trick-or-Treat?

Photo Credit/ Jaclyn LaRoche Natalie Irula, Brenden Eschelbacher, and Josh Weiss, pictured at ages 20, 19, and 20, accompany four children trick or treating last Halloween in Summerville, New Jersey and are successfully given candy.

Natalie Irula

Opinion Editor

To trick or to treat; that is the question. But, for many above a certain age, neither are an option.

Many towns across the country are deciding to put out bans on trick-or-treating for those who are deemed too old.

Chesapeake, Virginia, is a common example of threatening those under 12 with jail time.

According to FOX 59 News, the local government later updated the law, stating anyone over the age of 14 who engages in trick or treating is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $250.

Anyone who trick-or-treats after 8 p.m. in their town is also guilty of the same charge.

This raises the question: How old is too old to trick-or-treat?

It seems our campus is divided.

“I don’t know, I feel like, if you want to dress up and go get candy, then what’s the problem,” asked student Emma Lance.

“If someone wants to dress up but doesn’t want to go to parties, trick or treating is the only choice for fun that night,” said Lance.

I happen to be of the same opinion and believe you should be fine to trick-or-treat all along your teen years.

After that, you pretty much definitely have to have a child with you or people will give you weird looks.

This, I know from experience.

In my town, there isn’t much to do for young adults too young to drink and go out. So, my friends and I dressed up and went out every year to score candy.

Student Kayla Pollard, however, disagrees.

“Trick-or-treating is for kids,” said Pollard. “Like, once you’re grown, you’re grown. Just buy your own candy if you really want it but you can’t like to take it away from the kids.”

This stance is also very popular, making the gray area even grayer.

Town-wise, people are mostly upset with teenagers out and about on Halloween night because of the risk of violence and harassment.

On another note, the Pacific Legal Foundation website is of the opinion that preventing people from trick-or-treating shuts down valuable speech.

Or in other words, trick-or-treating is squarely protected by the First Amendment.

Not only, this I think people should let kids hang on to their youth as long as they can.

I mean, 15-year-olds are still kids.

Also, how is one to know if the teen or even adult in question has a developmental delay.

Or, what if they are accompanying a younger sibling.

Regardless, I don’t think it should be a problem but if the law is going to get involved, these things need to be considered.

Perhaps I am of this opinion because of the influence of my mother.

“When you get older, you realize the most cherished memories are when you were trick-or-treating around the neighborhood,” said Celia Irula, my mother. “Just turn the lights out if you don’t want to participate.”

A separate issue brought up by the original question is towns making rules for when trick-or-treating can start and how long it can last.

A particular citizen from Oak Park, a town in Illinois that tried implementing a seven p.m. curfew,  shared his concerns that regulating Halloween may be targeting a certain demographic.

“It’s targeting people from other communities, neighboring communities that don’t have great trick-or-treating neighborhoods to go to,” Will Sims told the Chicago Tribune.

“It’s going to target them and they’ll get citations. It will make them uncomfortable and make Oak Park a lot less friendly and welcoming to other races and cultures,” said Sims.

Belleville, also in Illinois, is imposing one of the more drastic regulations, banning kids older than the middle school from the trick-or-treating beginning in 2008.

According to the Chicago Tribune, there is a fine of up to $1,000 for those 13 or older who try to get free candy.

“Just take a second to think,” said Budget101 on Twitter.

“Would you rather them be out drinking and driving putting not only their lives in danger but possibly you and/or your child’s life in danger? Or would you rather them be knocking on your door getting candy?”

Philidelphia’s The Pearce Law Firm writes on their website that for purposes of the safety of the general public, most municipalities in Pennsylvania set trick-or-treating hours.

They also warn that any trick-or-treaters coming onto your property before or after those hours might be classified as trespassers.

So, how old is too old to trick-or-treat?

Well, that answer depends on where you live.

But, personally, I think it should be open to anyone who wants to go out and have safe, wholesome fun on Halloween night.

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