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Pop Culture

How old is too old to trick-or-treat? Turns out, most people agree on this topic.

This isn't such a debate after all.

halloween, trick or treating, upworthy
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We asked the Upworthy community if trick-or-treating should have an age limit

Should Halloween trick-or-treating have an age limit?

Some seem to think so, arguing that anyone past the age of thirteen has less sincere joy for the holiday, and merely uses trick-or-treating as a candy grabbing “scam”…thus potentially ruining the experience for the littles.

Certain cities have even implemented laws to enforce an age cut-off somewhere between 12-16-years-old, depending on the location. Punishment for breaking these rules vary, but in Chesapeake, Virginia it included up to six months of jail time up until 2019.

And yet, when we asked the Upworthy community this question, there was a very different answer.

Seemingly across the board, after scouring through thousands of comments, the resounding opinion was that Halloween was for all ages.

“I think trick or treating could be a lifelong adventure.”

“There is no age cut off. It’s so wonderful to see community out interacting no matter what your age!”

“Anyone who comes to my door on Halloween saying trick or treat can have a treat. Adults supervising young children, teens who chose to do something wholesome over doing something destructive, special needs adults whose mind is younger than their body, etc. If a Snickers or a pencil decorated with black cats will make someone happy, let’s do it.”

“I think if people are trick or treating and staying out of trouble who cares how old they are.”

“A kid that is older that is trick-or-treating means that they are enjoying their innocence and not off doing something bad, wrong or illegal. Let them enjoy the little things while they can:)”

And it’s not just our readers who feel this way. According to a 2021 YouGov survey, about one in four Americans agree that children can never be too old to go trick-or-treating.

Even experts share the opinion that there is no real harm in letting older children, teens, college kids, etc., participate in going door-to-door, so long as they are respectful.

And to that end, a few suggestions. Lizzie Post, co-president at the etiquette blog Emily Post Institute, recommends that big kids make little kids the “priority,” noting that they might want to steer clear of costumes that would seem too scary or uncomfortable for small kids, saying please and thank you while taking candy (be the example!) and generally leaning into the more friendly side of Halloween, rather than the ghoulish one. (TIME)

via GIPHY

Bottom line: If dressing up and asking for candy helps someone hold onto a bit of that elusive magic for just a little while longer, why not let them, so long as they are being kind?

Childhood goes by too fast—one minute you’re a toddler and the world is big and exciting and the next you’re thrust into the mundane throes of adulthood. But that inner kid never really goes away. And maybe, just maybe, seeing another big kid out and about on All Hallows Eve offers a gentle reminder to let ours free once in a while. Yes, even now.

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