Trick or Treating Age Cutoff?

I’ve often wondered myself, how old is too old to trick or treat? Do 17 year olds really need to go door to door? And if they do, shouldn’t they at least have to put, oh…a few seconds of thought into a costume? Back “in the day” when I went out trick or treating, it was generally thought middle school was the cut off. Once you passed 8th grade, your free candy days were over. But, then again, we didn’t want to go out in high school. We were too cool for that. Only “babies” trick or treated. I guess somewhere along the way, the mind thinking changed and a generation being famously dubbed at the “what’s in it for me?” generation decided they should miss out on free loot.

Here’s an interesting article that takes a look at Halloween and age limits.

Taken from

How old is too old for trick-or-treating?

Have you ever looked out your peephole and felt scared of a trick-or-treater? You’re not alone. Mayor Mark Eckhert of Belleville, Ill., says he’s heard a ton of complaints from frightened single mothers and senior citizens who are less than happy about the  “6-foot-tall kids” that ring their doorbells on Halloween. His solution: To create an ordinance banning high-school teenagers—that is, anyone over the age of 12—from trick-or-treating.

“When I was a kid my father said to me, ‘You’re too damn big to be going trick-or-treating. You’re done,’” Eckhert told ABC News. “When that doesn’t happen, then that’s reason for the city governments to intervene.”

Intervening, in this case, means putting an age limit on trick-or-treaters, and threatening the over-12  set with a $100 fine for those who ignore the law—though, according to ABC, that fine has rarely, if ever, been actually meted out. And while some residents of Belleville have complained about the ordinance, it seems that many more are relieved. Trick-or-treat age limits have also been popular in townships in South Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, and Virginia.

However comforting these restrictions may be to some, we can’t help but wonder: Are laws the right way to go when we’re teaching kids about becoming better adults?

Because, honestly, many of us—myself included— were teenage trick-or-treaters. How it happened for me is probably less important than why (I can try to blame other factors, but the truth is, I just loved free candy). You know when you’re aware that you are doing something wrong, but you do it anyway, hoping that you’ll pass unnoticed? Well, I quickly learned I couldn’t: “You gotta be kidding,” one neighbor said, staring sadly at my baby costume, slamming his door, and providing a necessary behavior adjustment all in one swift move.

While I learned my lesson through good, old-fashioned (and effective) humiliation, Eckhert and others believe that creating laws takes the guesswork away from those unclear about when they are no longer eligible for receiving treats. But not everyone is convinced that excluding teens from the relatively tame activity of trick-or-treating is a great idea. “Trick-or-treating in a large part is embraced in this country because it serves to cut down on teenage vandalism,” University of North Dakota history professor and early traditions expert, Hans Broedel, told ABC News. “Certainly telling teenagers they can’t go trick-or-treating isn’t going to stop them from going out on Halloween and doing whatever.”

What do you think? Should overage kids be legally banned from trick-or-treating? And how old is too old for trick-or-treating?




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3 responses to “Trick or Treating Age Cutoff?

  1. V.E.G.

    I don’t celebrate Halloween anymore due to I am closer to God. Years ago, I used to trick or treat, and I quit trick or treating after 8th grade, and I decided to do it from my own accord and I did that for that reason.

  2. Rena Marie

    Well, this is just some straight up bull shiz! see, i am 19…i STILL trick or treat. so does my boyfriend, my best friends, and everyone i know…in NJ that’s cool. we love halloween. my parents give out candy, my whole family does and all of us still go door to door dressed up as funny, scary, or sexy as possible! Halloween has nothing to do with this imaginary “god” person, and absolutely is none of the damn gov’t business! seriously, will they stop at nothing??? isn’t this freakin; AMERICA?!
    Luckily for me, in NJ we dont have stupid laws (we have that driving one…but i ignore that anyway), and if there was a law like this one in my city, i’d be like “screw this!” and do it! who cares? you cant get fined if they don’t know who the hell you are, and they can’t prove your age. my boyfriend has been over 6ft tall since he was 13…and me? im just 5ft even. so…nobody could ever know. and as for our faces? Well, we look like little kids and once were smeered with blood and make up, the mystery will only thicken.

    • agreed. This is one of the dumbest laws I’ve ever heard of. I’m 20, and I also live in NJ. I still trick or treat. I agree that going dressed as a “baby” or something equally as lazy is stupid. But that goes for ANY age group. If you’re gonna trick or treat, get a good costume. Hell, even a decent costume. Put some amount of work into it. But, I digress. The government should not ban trick or treating for people over 12 years of age. That’s just moronic. Do they not have anything better to do than fine teenagers for trick or treating? Everyone I’ve discussed this with agrees that it’s a stupid law. Nobody whose door I went to last year (or ever) seemed scared in the slightest. People are so paranoid and ridiculous these days.

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