(Editor’s Note: Keith Still will be filling in for me for part of next week and the week after while we bring our kitchen back to the future. (Get it? It’s an ’80s reference because my kitchen looks like the ’80s.) But she had a burning question about Halloween so she wrote today’s topic also.)
With my eldest child’s twelfth birthday and Halloween coming up this weekend, we are once again forced to realize that our daughter is growing up.
Since beginning middle school a couple of months ago, our daughter has become much more independent and responsible. She also has a close group of increasingly-independent and responsible friends. And while life with a middle-schooler is no cake walk, it’s also not nearly as bad (so far) as I had feared.
So as birthday number twelve approaches, our “little girl” is hoping to strike out on her own this Halloween and go trick-or-treating with her friends. She has trick-or-treated with her friends in a way for years – mainly because some live down the street, and others drive to our neighborhood to go door-to-door each October 31st. The difference is that my husband and I, along with our younger daughters, are always out on the streets with our tweenager and her group. The older kids may run ahead, go through our neighbor’s wicked haunted house and socialize within eyesight, but not earshot, of the grown-ups.
Now, they want to go it all alone. Our neighborhood is safe, and there are plenty of parents out and about with their children during trick-or-treating hours. Our daughter knows many of those parents and children. The girls are wearing appropriate Halloween costumes. They are still content to be scary vampires, instead of scantily-clad vampires. Several are choosing to don the most freakish outfit imaginable to a middle schooler, opting to dress like hippies for the evening. (Although, I don’t think hippies wore jeans from Aeropostale.)
They will, of course, travel in a big group. They will be required to stick to a certain route and check in with us; and they will all carry flashlights. We are still trying to determine how often the kids must check in with the parents, and how long they can stay out trolling for sweets.
Personally, I am torn by this Halloween quandary. As proud as I am that she is growing up, I will miss trick-or-treating with her. Even with her friends in tow the past few years, Halloween still always felt like a family outing. One year – probably very soon – she will give up trick-or-treating altogether, and then I’ll be forced to reckon with the fact that she’s not just growing up – but that she’s nearly grown.
At what age did your children begin trick-or-treating on their own? What rules did you set for the first time? How far from home were they allowed to walk? How often did they check in, and how late were they allowed to stay out? At about what age do kids give up trick-or-treating altogether?