October is officially here, and with it comes one of my favorite holidays- Halloween!
I didn’t used to love Halloween as much as I do now. I credit having two really excited children for that. Answering the door and seeing all of the kids in their costumes, asking for me to throw candy in their bags is genuinely fun for me. I can’t help but smile all night. Planning for what costumes my kids want every year is exciting.
A holiday that is dedicated almost exclusively to children being cute and doing one of their favorite things: getting candy. I can get behind it!
I remember the last time I ever trick-or-treated. I was 12; lanky and past the ‘adorable’ stage. Even at that age, I recognized looks of disapproval as my friends and I said ‘trick or treat!’ at our neighbors’ doors. I also remember getting significantly less candy than I used to, despite being polite and excited.
The next year, my parents told me I was too old to trick-or-treat.
Now that I’m the adult, I know one thing: I won’t be doing that to anyone this year, whether they’re 6 months or 16.
One town in Canada placed an age ban on anyone over the age of 16 trick-or-treating. Anyone caught breaking this ban is slapped with a $200 fine.
Let’s think about this for a second. Kids are currently growing up faster than ever. They have access to, and are often engrossed in, content that is put on the internet just to entice them to mature quicker; fashion that bares more, music that glorifies adult behavior, and a general disconnection from the things that makes them kids, like playing outside and connecting face-to-face with others.
Why would we begrudge any preteen or teenager the chance to dress up in a costume and enjoy receiving candy? It can only serve to prolong their youth.
There are dozens of other things kids could be doing on Halloween that are much less savory than trick-or-treating within their community. Because of this, I can’t help but smile when I see preteens and teenagers running around in packs, laughing and begging for candy. It’s a solid reminder to everyone that the fun doesn’t have to stop when you reach a certain age.
I know for a fact that when my children age, I’ll give them my blessing if they still want to trick-or-treat with their friends… with a few conditions. Don’t trample or scare the younger kids. Always look people in the eye, say “please” and “thank you”.
And, of course, have fun.
If anyone with teenagers is reading this, feel free to send them trick or treating to my house. I promise we’ll meet them with a smile, comment on their costume, and fill up their bags with candy (I’ll be thinking of you, mom, as I throw in an extra Reese’s… we all know those go into our personal stash after they’re in bed!).
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.