“Aren’t you a little too old for trick-or-treating?”
That’s a question that my 13-year-old son got quite a bit last year when he went trick-or treating with his cousins and two younger brothers.
Even though he had just turned 13 a few weeks before Halloween, he was pretty tall. I guess the jumbo monkey Maskimal that he was wearing as a costume made him look even taller—and apparently, less deserving of trick-or-treating.
He even had a teacher at school last year tell his class that this was probably the last year that they could go trick-or-treating.
Now, I don’t think that any of the people handing out candy, or even his teacher, were trying to be mean by telling 7th graders that they are too old to be trick-or-treating. But, who says that once you reach the ripe old age of 13 and are over 5’ 5” that you have to give up collecting candy at Halloween??
Are teens to old to go trick or treating?
I mean, as adults, do we think that tweens and teens no longer like to eat candy? Are they too mature to dress up in a costume? That stuff is for little kids, right? Ummm…. NO.
“Well, it’s just not age appropriate for teens to be trick-or-treating!” Ever heard this one? Let’s talk age appropriate, shall we?
Have you ever seen a 1-year-old, barely able to walk up to your door, let alone, get out the entire phrase “trick-or-treat,” but you happily tell them how cute they are and toss candy into their bag? Oh my goodness, the way that little one just toddled up to your door—cuteness overload!—well, they need at least two pieces of candy…
Do you see where I’m going with this? Do you really think that the little princess sitting in a stroller sucking on her binky is going to eat candy? No, but you give happy drop a candy bar in her bag. Is the little boy dressed up like a super hero that tripped coming up your driveway two times because he’s just learning to walk, going to eat that snickers bar? Probably not. You know who will eat the candy? Well, in this case, probably the parents.
But you know who actually eats the candy they get when they go trick-or-treating? Yep, the bigger kids! It truly is a holiday meant for them.
In fact, did you hear about the recent trend of adult recess? Well, it’s a thing. And it’s meant to give adults a break of the stress of bills, a job, and all the other responsibilities that come along with adult life. Believe it or not, several cities around the country have hosted adult recess events that included childhood favorites, such as kickball, tetherball, cornhole, and even playing with Lincoln Logs and Play-Doh.
And while it may sound silly… it kind of is. But isn’t that the point? To give adults a break from their mature, adult lives, filled with responsibilities, and let them just have fun with some favorite pastimes?
Let kids…be kids!
Well, guess what? Just because tweens and teens aren’t grownups yet, with a mortgage and a job, doesn’t mean that they don’t face stress. In fact, you may be surprised to find out that teens are more stressed than ever. Besides all of the usual stresses that go along with the pre-teen and teen years—an ever-changing body, hormones, emotions that they don’t know how to deal with, relationships, the desire for independence—teens now have more pressure with social media, sports, and academics.
So, let’s give tweens and teens a break everywhere! Let them dress up and be silly and be kids for a couple of hours! If adults are allowed to just be kids for a moment, shouldn’t we allow our kids to be kids too?
As you are handing out candy this year, instead of telling teens that they are too old for trick-or-treating and making them feel guilty for letting loose for a few minutes, just smile as you hand out your fun-sized candy bars and wish them a Happy Halloween!