There’s no denying it…”What age should you stop trick-or-treating” is a “tricky” question. I would love to hear your opinion in the comments at the bottom of the post, especially if you are a veteran parent of a tween or teen!
Having a middle schooler has been an interesting journey so far. My nearly 12-year old son is just one-inch shy of my 5’6″ frame. His feet are now two full sizes larger than mine and his voice has changed over the last few months (yes, he is maturing early).
He is looking more like a man every day.
But deep down, he is still a little boy.
Just last week we went to the pumpkin patch and he wanted to bounce around and play like every other kid. He wanted to run through the splash pad at Sea World and get drenched. But then the very next moment, he was begging to check his Fantasy Football team’s stats on my husband’s phone or jumping in on our conversation of real-world issues.
He is in this awkward no-man’s-land between boyhood and manhood…and it is a tricky place to be.
This is the first year he will not wear a costume to school. And the first year he was invited to go to a Haunted House with his youth group (he is SOOOO not ready for that). So obviously, the question that is on my mind is…
What Age Should You Stop Trick-or-Treating?
I have no solid answer. I’ve never parented a tween or teen before so I am literally the blind leading the blind in this case. But maybe the questions we should be asking our children are:
- Do you want to trick-or-treat this year?
- If not, what is something you would enjoy doing instead?
- Would you like to pass out the candy at our house?
- Are there any special events or activities that you would like to do at Halloween?
My nuanced answer is that if your child wants to trick-or-treat, let him. Set the expectation that respect is to be shown to every single person and their property.
Middle-schoolers are at such an emotional time in their lives. That doesn’t mean they need to be treated like snowflakes, but that does mean that they need to be treated with thoughtfulness and respect during a time that is usually all about little kids.
Growing up is hard and the social norms are often awkward. May we look to find ways to include them in on the fun. Even if that means allowing them to trick-or-treat longer than what we feel is appropriate.
Let’s let our kids be kids for however long they want to.
And if a 5’5″ man-child walks up to your door this Halloween and says, “trick-or-treat” in a deep, throaty voice, I hope you will gladly hand him a piece of candy, knowing that his parents are trying to preserve every last drop his childhood innocence.
What about you? What age do you think a child should stop trick-or-treating?
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