Opinion: How old is too old to trick or treat?


Michelle Patelmo

BOO TO YOU: A collection of my family’s Halloween costumes

My mom reposted a photo on Facebook that says, ‘Teenagers who seem too old to trick-or-treat chose childhood over partying. Be happy and hand over Snickers.’ This post from All Things Halloween has over 17,000 shares and 3,000 likes. After viewing this post, I put myself into the shoes of the adults who hand out the candy: should high schoolers still be trick or treating?

I wondered what my peers would think and posted a free response post on my private Instagram. The most common answer was ‘never,’ however, I doubt they would open the door for a trick-or-treater with a beard and no kid. Caitlyn Murphy, a senior at North Penn Highschool, still trick-or-treats with her younger brother.

“It depends on your family. If you have younger siblings, you obviously go to ensure they’re safe. But if you don’t have that excuse, it really just depends on how mature you are.” Murphy said. 

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Of course, teens and adults alike enjoy partying around the holiday. When driving to or from, drivers should be extra cautious According to AutoInsurance.Org, Halloween is the 7th deadliest holiday for driving with an average number of 396 fatal crashes in the US. Dark costumes and impaired drivers lead to an increase in traffic fatalities. Surprisingly, the same data found Christmas and New Years’ Eve to be some of the safest days to drive on the road. This could be because people are encouraged to have smaller gatherings with family or neighbors. Victoria Swanhart, a mother and teacher from Lansdale, presents a solution to make Halloween safer for all while allowing adults to celebrate. 

“Some parents get overwhelmed by Halloween. You work all day, then you have to take your kids trick or treating, it can be exhausting. Some neighborhoods have found ways for parents to have fun. They’ll treat the parents to adult beverages to soften the blow. This also encourages parents not to drive around the neighborhood where kids could potentially get hurt.” Swanhart said. 

If adults can find ways to safely enjoy the holiday, why can’t teenagers? Trick-or-treating may seem lame, but parties may be too intimidating. A potential solution could be a school dance on the night of Halloween. This ensures that teens can still dress up and hang out with friends without potentially putting themselves in danger. North Penn has struggled to provide other fall events like a Homecoming dance because they happened too early in the school year. Having a dance on October 31st means school has been in session for 2 months. The school could even use this event to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month like Minithon does for childhood cancer in the spring. A Halloween school event would make those who do and don’t trick or treat happy to celebrate the holiday. 

So, how old is too old for you to trick-or-treat? My answer is when you start feeling awkward going. Nevertheless, this holiday continues to be one of my favorites because of its celebration of community and childhood. Halloween lets you become what you want to be and earn candy while you do it. Even if you don’t celebrate, everyone can enjoy the half-off candy the following day. Treat yourself to a happy Halloween!