Families all around the country are preparing eerie decorations, loading up on candy, and finalizing everyone’s costumes as Halloween approaches. Before you know it, a ton of trick-or-treaters will be out and about begging for as much candy as they can find before attempting to consume it all in one evening. Is your child, however, too old for doing trick-or-treat?
Age Limits for Trick-or-Treat
The concept of a ‘trick-or-treat age’ is unimportant when children are small. On the spookiest night of the year, even the tiniest pumpkins enjoy dressing up. Who among children of school age doesn’t enjoy staying up late to explore areas populated by witches and monsters? But, among purists who believe that the great candy grab should be limited to small kids alone, those between tween and adolescent years can provoke some conflicting sentiments.
In general, many people feel that teens shouldn’t be allowed to trick-or-treat. In certain cities and towns, trick-or-treating is prohibited for children under a certain age. For instance, Chesapeake, Virginia, only allows children under the age of 14 to trick-or-treat, and those who are older risk being punished with a Class four misdemeanor. Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Norfolk, and other localities with similar trick-or-treat age restrictions forbid trick-or-treating beyond the age of 12. Children in Newport News who are 12 years old or older are permitted to go with younger siblings, but they cannot wear masks.
Since more than 30 years ago, Upper Deerfield Township, New Jersey, has prohibited children older than 12 from trick-or-treating (though action has never been taken). Children over the age of 12 are not allowed to wear masks, and those in grades nine and up are not allowed to “appear on the streets, highways, public homes, private homes, or public places in the city to make trick-or-treat visits,” according to Belleville, Illinois law, where it is known as Halloween Solicitation.
When Should a Child Stop Trick-or-Treating?
Author of Parenting Right From the Start and licensed psychologist Vanessa Lapointe advises parents to consider their approach carefully before bringing up the subject with their children. She advises parents to truly consider whether they are making this choice for their children or for the candy-givers who could be giving them a bad look because they believe their youngster is too old. Your children’s needs and desires should always be taken into consideration while making decisions.
Dr. Lapointe advises parents who are attempting to establish if the Halloween enchantment has faded for their older children to take each youngster into account separately. Since every child is different from the next, it can take many years for two kids of the same age to finish trick-or-treating. Another 13-year-old may choose to dress up and go trick-or-treating, while one may want to spend the evening passing out candy with parents. It’s crucial to avoid making generalizations about age.
No matter their age, all kids should have the chance to celebrate Halloween, but it’s up to the parents to explain what that entails. We must all keep in mind that every family and child is unique and that childhood doesn’t stop when children reach a specific height or age.