Every year on Halloween, there are always those kids, the ones who look much older than their hyper, candy-seeking counterparts. Some people have no problems with this, but others do. This begs the question, should trick-or-treating have an age limit?
Trick-or-treating maintained a solid part of my childhood, so I understand the want to hold on to those memories by continuing to run house-to-house for sweet treats. However, the indication once entering high school is that one begins growing up. Freshmen are often excused because they still need adjusting to high school, but aside from that, there remains no excuse.
A lot of people lose the Halloween spirit by the time they enter high school as well, especially the teenagers who drive around in a car, only getting out to ring doorbells and receive candy. If they want candy that badly, they should buy some instead of taking some away from children that should still trick-or-treat.
Adults do not appreciate opening their doors for kids who often fail to try hard on their costumes, such as wearing only a mask, if anything at all. High schoolers usually come around late at night, too, either because they had to finish their homework or because they are reaping the rewards of their age. The delay only serves to heighten adult irritation at having to hand out candy to teens when they simply want to sleep.
While it is true that not all teenagers are like this, those who dominate overwhelm the ones who do not. Most kids during Halloween attend parties or hang out with their friends. Some even hand out candy to those coming around their house.
The fact remains that there is a time when someone becomes too old to don a costume and trek out into the night to beg for candy from strangers. It might not occur immediately as a child enters high school or the minute he turns thirteen, but these milestones indicate a time soon coming where age trumps eligibility for Halloween trick-or-treating.
I understand that many enjoy the festive, celebratory aspect of the holiday, but think of Halloween as Christmas. When someone is young, they believe in Santa completely, and does not usually suspect that someone else might place the presents under the tree. As children grow older, eventually they realize that Santa does not exist, and understand that if they want to continue celebrating the holiday, they must also participate in the present-giving.
Halloween relates to that. Halloween stood as one of my favorite holidays, because it was about free candy and dressing up. As I grew older, I understood that Halloween really did not represent entirely about my favorite part of the holiday. Now in high school, I know that I can still dress up, but hanging out with my friends and handing out candy myself completely replaced trick-or-treating. Teens can still celebrate Halloween, just in a different way.
The time has come for teenagers to understand that adults feel irritated at having to cater to teenagers on Halloween. Whether high schoolers trick-or-treat is ultimately up to them, whether because they genuinely enjoy celebrating the holiday or because they like free candy, but they should be aware that they are growing older and becoming more mature, which should reflect in which events they partake in.