Should we have an age limit on trick-or-treating?

October, for most children, means ghosts, monsters, and trick or treating. Since the late 1920’s, American children have partaken in the act of knocking on doors and receiving candy, widely known as “Trick or Treating”. The candy, however, is only one part of this classic tradition, considering not one child leaves their house without an elaborate costume. And, what’s more, nearly 75 percent of Americans plan to be handing out candy to these little creatures! However, with every year of trick-or-treating comes the same issue of how old a child can be before their night of sugary fun needs to end. While some claim trick or treating is fun for all ages, there is certainly a point at which the treat taker becomes the treat giver.

First, let’s look at the very premise of trick or treating, or at least modern trick-or- treating. Imagine you are about to open the door to a trick-or-treater. Who do you expect to be behind that door? A cute child dressed as a disney character, or a 18 year old man dressed as a grunge rockstar? I doubt you expected the latter. In thousands of commercials and movies, the average trick-or-treater is portrayed as a small child. Of course, these portrayals are probably used to the make the ads cuter, but they certainly have grown to represent American trick-or-treating culture. Also, many people feel uncomfortable or intimidated by large teens, and this relates to the next reason for an age limit.
The crime rate. During nights of trick-or-treating, several crimes have been reported, and, not surprisingly, from older individuals. According to an article published by The Huffington Post, between 2006 and 2009, crime around the city of Boston was 50 percent higher on October 31 than any other date all year. Of course this does not mean every teen will commit outright violence during halloween, but rather, they may be able to blend in and commit more subtle crimes, like kidnapping. This raises the question, “If there are more older individuals trick-or-treating, wouldn’t they be less susceptible to being kidnapped?” The answer to this is simply to have more, trusted, parent supervision over young trick-or-treaters.

Lastly, older teens have many more options in terms of halloween entertainment. Halloween parties have seen a rise in the last few years, and according to CNN, over 225 million Americans celebrate Halloween through methods other than trick-or-treating. Halloween parties are the most popular alternative, and they often involve delicious seasonal treats, fun dances, or a costume contest. These fun parties are not the only substitute for trick or treating, however. Americans often watch a scary movie, share spooky stories, or go to a haunted house. With all these options, trick-or-treating sounds fairly.

In conclusion, since Halloween is generally about children, there is a serious Halloween crime rate, and teens have several other Halloween entertainment options to choose from, there should be a lenient age.