When is a tween ready to go out on Halloween by themselves? When is your teen too old to trick or treating at all?
When my doorbell rings at 9 pm on Halloween I know it’s the teenage boys coming calling. Even though my lights are out, and the pumpkin candles have been extinguished, these oversized children are are on the search for candy, and they’re taking their chances that I have some left.
Do I open the door or don’t I? Will they kick my pumpkin to the curb unless I bribe these scary teenagers with sweet treats? Probably not. I’m lucky I live in a good neighbourhood where the kids are all talk and no action. After a couple of knocks, these uncostumed ghouls slink off into the night, on the search for the next piece of excitement.
The question is, why are they trick or treating so late at night? Well, because they’re teenagers, and they march to the beat of their own time clocks. Next question, if they’re old enough to be out way after dark, aren’t they too old to be ringing my doorbell?
Probably. Maybe. Now don’t get me wrong. I love it when my teenage son and his friends show up in a group, deep voices booming the ages old adage, Trick or Treat, smell my feet. Give me something good to eat. But, just as the wheels of time turn, all good things must come to an end. At one point, it’s time to leave the candy to the little ones and move on to greater adventures.
Thus, the question begs to be answered.
How old is too old to go out on Halloween?
You’re too old to go begging for candy when you:
- can to drive yourself from house-to-house,
- think a t-shirt that says BOO is a costume
- have sent your applications in for university
- think Night of the Living Dead is funny
- learned how to text on a regular cell phone
- were around when Pokemon was new
- have to shave more than twice per week
- were a fan of Avril Lavigne when she was still a sk8r grl
- are wearing high heels that make it difficult for you to navigate grass
- just woke up from your after school nap and have a good six hours until your 3 am bedtime
On the other hand, many people wonder when it’s time for their tweens to venture out on their own. I’m not a helicopter parent by any means. In fact, I’m quite the opposite and believe in letting kids gain independence. But, when it comes to All Hallow’s Eve, I lean on the conservative side.
It’s dark, there are older teenagers out on the streets looking for fun, and an air of excitement that, when combined with the giddy taste of freedom, can lead to poor decisions. Personally, I think it’s important to train-the-dragon, as it were, by working in steps towards Halloween self-sufficiency. This path also helps balance the ages old whine called But My Friends Are Allowed To.
Step 1: Grade 5 gets you a group ramble with a stealth dad-stalker (or momstalker)
Step 2: Grade 6 gets you a group ramble with a cell phone, an 8 pm curfew, and a predetermined route mapped out
Step 3: Grade 7 gets you nearly full independence, with a cell phone and an 8:3o pm curfew
Step 4: Grade 8 and beyond (see above for end date) gets you the full teenage Halloween experience, as long as you folllow The Rules.
The Rules (some are obvious, but bear repeating):
- Look both ways before you cross the street
- Go in a group of three or more goblins. Stay with your group.
- Don’t enter anyone’s house
- If your direction changes, text me
- If your plan changes, text me
- If another group of kids looks like trouble, they probably are. Steer clear. Cross the street.
- Respect other people’s property.
- Say thank you.
- Don’t eat open candies. No matter how old you are, Daddy still likes to sort your treats
- If you’re late, the witches will turn you into a zombie. The witches being your parents, and the zombies being you’re grounded.
What age did you let your tween or teen go out on their own for Halloween? Has your teenager stopped trick-or-treating?
Has your husband?
Bonus Tip: Tired of your kids eating too much candy after October 31st? I was. So this is what I do. I let them have as much as they want. Endless amounts, no limits. For one week. After three days, they get sick of their treats, after another few days, the bag lays forgotten in the secret hiding place. It works. There definitely can be too much of a good thing.