Age limits on trick-or-treating: Scary or smart?

First, in recognition of those holiday decorations I saw at a store last weekend, here’s a quick shout-out to retailers who resist the urge to begin selling Christmas before Nov. 1. I know, I know, it’s a marketing thing and maybe even good for business when tree lights and candy corn share the same shelf. But great ghouls, people, I’m still in Halloween mode here. I love watching George Bailey rediscover the meaning of life and Ralphie pound the snot out of Scut Farkus as much as anyone, but let’s enjoy the Snooki “pouf” wigs while we can, yes? And a tip of the Lady Gaga meat cap to any radio station not playing “Jingle Bell Rock” before November.

Veering back to the real topic now, I’d love to hear some opinions on this too-old-to-trick-or-treat discussion that’s been going on. In case you missed it, several cities throughout the country have established laws designed to keep those pesky 13-year-olds off your doorstep on Halloween night. Believe it or not, violating the rules could actually land you in jail or slapped with a $100 fine. That’s about 30 bags of Butterfingers, by the way.

While I agree that 16 is perhaps a little old to be roaming neighborhoods with a pillow case, unless you’re checking IDs at the door, how does one really know how old a child is? Not that most kids carry around ID cards, anyway.

I ask because I attended elementary school with a kid who stood, it seemed, at least a foot taller than the rest of us. Throw a mask and cape on him and there’s no question he would’ve looked old enough to drive. It is an exception, but one worth noting.

Let’s hear it. Are you in favor of laws banning “old” trick-or-treaters? Can you see yourself turning away kids based on their height or perceived age? How old were you when you finally hung up the candy sack?

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14 comments Add your comment

Brenda Ehly

October 28th, 2010
8:46 am

Turn away thuggish, immature teens from my door on Halloween?! Are you kidding? What do we think their response is going to be? The best I can hope for is to hand over the candy and hope they’ll leave me in peace.


October 28th, 2010
9:14 am

The only day of the year where people open their doors to strangers wearing masks…… Is this really a good idea anymore??


October 29th, 2010
12:23 pm

k you cant just stereotype kids that way. every kid is different in their maturity level and you cant just point fingers at a child that you have never even met before in your life acusing them of wrong. it isnt right to take that “being a kid” advantage away from youths, they dont deserve it and it truly isnt fair! however they do ned to be responsible and respectful, the ones who cross that line dont deserve to have such a priviledge, but dont punish the innocent.

Marilynn Beyer

October 31st, 2010
7:21 am

I think teens should be able to trick or treat as long as they have fun and are respectful. In the small town I live in there really isn’t anything for the kids to do and no place for them to be gather. My Daughter is 17 and she didn’t want to go this year. I went till i was in the 7th grade. Many of the adults were rude to us.
Teens are struggling with an i still an teen child or am i an adult. Just something else to get angry, angry teens are not fun to be around. i really think were making the prolem. We need to let them know that they are loved to . teens sure still love candy . Me to (HeHe)


October 31st, 2010
9:23 am

I think an age limit is INSANE. Halloween is for everyone to enjoy. My mother is 57 years old and STILL dresses up in fun, cool costumes. I don’t know what the people in those cities expect 13 year olds to do? So they are saying once your 13 you can’t have fun any more? What are they supposed to do at 13? Can’t drive, they might not have been invited to some halloween party, so they are supposed to sit at home on halloween, bored to death? COME ON…adults these days are killing me! Scared of everything, everything offends them, putting restrictions on 13 year old kids…good lord I can not wait until my generation will be the ones making the rules. Maybe we can get America back to a FREE country. Freedom of speech ( who cares if someone gets offended that’s kind of the point, because you are FREE to offend me right back) and back to a FREE country where 13 year old kids, who probably havent even hit puburity, can TRICK OR TREAT and be A KID!

Richard Marshall

October 31st, 2010
10:59 am

This should be between the parents and the teen we have to much
goverment intrusion al ready


October 31st, 2010
11:54 am

Good grief, whats the hurry to get these kids to not act like kids, if they act respectful I don’t care how old they are. Halloween is about fun. Would you rather them sneak around and throw eggs, soap your windows, shoot paint balls at your house? My father wouldn’t let me go when I was 13 and I sat in front of the TV feeling like a kid who had missed out on Christmas. I have two daughters in my new relationship 12&15 and they both are excited to go trick or treat tonight in the small town we live in.They are truly innocent looking forward to dressing up and going out. Let kids be kids, they will know when its time to stop. We are adults the rest of are lives. I wouldn’t dress up for Halloween but I have seen adults all my 47 years dressing up, my advice is long as its in fun- live and let live .


October 31st, 2010
1:40 pm

Common! As long a children and teens want to dress and trick or treat, let them. They’re not hurting anyone. I’d rather have them have fun doing this than anything else. As long as both children and teens are respectful they should get a treat. Every year we have bunches of trick or treaters and and haven’t had any problems. Let’s let people enjoy Halloween. I’m also sure that the costume and candy companies won’t be too thrilled to lose some sales and do we really have enough police or sheriff to patrol the strets and find and fine anyone over 12?

Two Common Cents

October 31st, 2010
4:18 pm

Not sure if 12 is the number, but there should be some limit. I met a young man at the door three years ago and noted some pretty impressive facial hair. Couldn’t resist asking him, “Just how old are you, young man?” He said he was 22. I talked to him for a minute to see why he felt compelled to be out trick or treating with the single digit kids. Never did get a really concise answer, but he did tell me he was in the Navy. Hmmmm. There should be a limit which should not have to be imposed by any level of government, let alone enforced by fines!!

Glenn Beck fan

October 31st, 2010
5:49 pm

Ban Halloween completely. I had a great time as a kid now couldn’t care less about the annoying kids .
Ban this so called holiday and kids can do something productive .


October 31st, 2010
6:06 pm

Puleeze….its bad enough that our children are growing up so fast, let them be children for as long as they can especially for one day out of the year! Having a cut off at 12 years old is too young.


October 31st, 2010
6:20 pm

I believe kids should be able to trick or treat. Banning it would mean that everyone will have to carry ID’s around. Some teens over 12 look like they’re 10 and some 10 year olds look like they’re 13 so, how do we adults tell whether or not they’re over 12 or not?


November 1st, 2010
12:01 am

To glen beck lover, This is the best day of the year!!!!! Dress up, free candy :) and I’m 41, ya want to ban something, ban X-Mas, greedy kids, have forgotten the meaning of that!!!!!!!!!!!!


November 2nd, 2010
11:54 am

Age limit for Halloween?? That is awful. Let kids be kids and let it be their own decisions when they feel they are “too Old” to dress up and go out trick or treating. As long as they are polite, respectful and still say “trick or treat” and “thank you”, what’s the problem??