How Old is Too Old for Trick-or-Treating?

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How Old is Too Old for Trick-or-Treating?

Anna Hulstedt, Features Editor

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      Many exciting traditions arise with the beginning of autumn each year. Visits to the apple orchard or pumpkin patch, enjoying apple cider or a pumpkin spice treat, and celebrating Halloween are just a few ways to welcome the new season with family and friends.

      Halloween has especially become an American tradition for all ages throughout the years. Being daring enough to enter a haunted house, attending costume parties, and trick-or-treating are common activities during the Halloween season. Americans even spend close to nine billion dollars on Halloween annually. Trick-or-treating has become a favorite for all, including teens, childrens, and families. But how old is too old for trick-or-treating?

      According to Chesapeake, Virginia, children 12 years and younger is the only permitted age group for trick-or-treating. In fact, teens over this limit could be caught and given fines or could even serve jail time for asking neighbors for candy on Halloween night. As this seems like an extreme regulation, the guidelines stand to maintain a safe and family-friendly Halloween night.

      Heath Covey, the city’s director of public communications, explained that nobody would actually be taken to jail for trick-or-treating. The purpose of the trick-or-treating ordinance in Chesapeake is simply to encourage safety and respect for everyone to enjoy.

      “If a 13-year-old kid is out trick-or-treating with their younger sibling, they’re not going to have any issues. But say that 13-year-old goes out and decides to smash pumpkins in the street and cause some mischief- we would have to deal with that.”

      In fact, the ordinance has existed for over 50 years since 1967. It was made to protect trick-or-treaters the year following a rough Halloween night, where one kid threw a sparkler into another’s treat bag and then another boy was stabbed in the chest after stealing someone’s bag of candy. Officials have not advertised it or posted about it, so they are unsure what caused the uproar about the ordinance this year. Officers try to explain that the ordinance only serves as a warning to teens and families about the adequate trick-or-treating age in Chesapeake.

      When the Chesapeake situation is a bit extreme and doesn’t apply to other cities, it has led people to consider what the real appropriate age limit should be for trick-or-treaters, or if there should be an age limit at all. In most cases, parent supervision for children under 12 is a smart and safe option, but teenagers can definitely go out on their own. Some would argue that trick-or-treating should be allowed for young adults in their 20’s. However, the line should most likely be drawn there as it is an uncomfortable thought of having middle-aged people out trick-or-treating without supervising young children. Either way, an age limit would be difficult to enforce anyways.

      “I’d say trick-or-treating is appropriate until you’re 18 because before then, you’re still technically a kid. If the younger kids can trick or treat, why can’t the older kids? It’d also be creepy if we had middle aged adults trick-or-treating without kids with them,” said Bella Kazluski (‘20).

      Many students at Belvidere North still enjoy trick-or-treating and would most likely disagree with an age limit like Chesapeake. Age 12 and younger would exclude all high schoolers and a large portion of middle schoolers too. Although some teens would misuse privileges on Halloween night, the majority of kids would just want to trick-or-treat while staying out of trouble. Besides, what else is there to do Halloween night besides trick-or-treating? Most students would rather push back homework and responsibilities with candy as a number one priority instead.

      Overall, Chesapeake’s ordinance about trick-or-treating serves to provoke thought about how old is too old for trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Either way, whether you spend the evening at home or collecting candy in costume, just remember: no tricks and all treats. Belvidere’s Halloween trick-or-treating is on Wednesday, October 13 from 4 to 8 pm.

      Other Local Trick-or-Treat times:

Caledonia 5:30-7:00

Cherry Valley 5:30-7:30

Loves Park 5:30-7:30

Poplar Grove 4:00-7:00

Rockford 5:30-7:30

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