So, when do you all think it's too old for a child to go trick or treating? I'm just trying to figure out when that age would be.
I use Hallowe'en as a way to encourage artistic expression in my children. As they grow older, I continue to encourage them to dress-up and I model this by accompanying them in costume. However, as they grow older, the focus changes from them being the ones asking for candy to them creating more elaborate costumes and being chaperones for the little ones who do the asking, and if the resident is generous with them too, bonus!
The older the children are, the more effort I expect in their costumes. How often do you see works of art paraded to your door? Teenagers who present themselves as skateboarders are asked to do tricks or are turned away with the suggestion that they try harder next year. Other times, because teenagers are often the ones who knock later, my kids get to answer the door and see the kinds of costumes and transformational make-up masterpieces to which they can aspire. I do not have a problem trading candy to see that! Some kids don't even ask for anything, they just do their magic tricks or read their poems and wish us a happy Hallowe'en.
So, to answer your question, I think a person should stop going trick or treating when they no longer put age-appropriate effort into their costumes or when they aren't prepared to give something valuable in exchange for their treats.
5Magic tricks and poem reading on Halloween? I've never even heard of such a thing!– afrazierOct 29, 2011 at 23:55
Yea, I was going to say the same thing...are we talking about the same halloween?– DA01Oct 30, 2011 at 1:36
No kidding! It must be the neighbourhood I live in. Some of the kids go to a special arts-focus high school. It's certainly not what I grew up with, but my kids are, and I like it!– nGiniusOct 30, 2011 at 1:49
Round our way it's songs, tricks, poetry, light shows and even stunts - they earn their treats from ages 2 to 16 or so :-) +1 for this answer by the way - excellent way to look at it.– Rory Alsop ♦Oct 31, 2011 at 9:52
1I'm in Switzerland, and generally don't generally 'reward' ghouls, zombies and monsters, but a solitary ten-year-old dressed as Charlie Chaplin turned up last night, complete with 'dance' routine. Even treated us to a slapstick 'falling down the steps' after receiving his booty!– BenjolNov 1, 2011 at 14:46
I think that a child will make it clear that they would rather go to a Halloween party than to trick or treating. Having seen engineers and artists, and artistic engineers, creating some fantastic costumes, I don't think that there's an upper age limit on Halloween - even the dead and undead can be found at such parties.
Simply put, I think your child will let you know when they don't want to do the same thing and want to do something different, such as a party, a haunted maze, or some other activity.
At some point, you might find it interesting to introduce them to something quite different, such as Dia de los Muertos or a Halloween-inspired organ performance.
As for the "something different", there's also the option of charitable work. In university, I remember there being some sort of food drive, where some of the students went door to door collecting canned goods (and optionally dressed up, IIRR). Can't now remember what the charity/event was called. Mar 16, 2017 at 7:58
My view is they are too old, when they decide they are.
We get a wide range of kids, although we don't give candy away - neither my wife and I really like to encourage that sort of thing, more importantly we get a small amount of treaters due to the location of our street. Buying candy means we'd eat most of it after, so we give away small decks of playing cards, or small containers of Play-Doh. When I took my son out we saw quite a few teens out dressed up, some were imaginative and other's just had on head bands with springy things on top.
Personally I'd rather have nGinius' neighbors, but we get a few well decorated houses (mine is slowly getting there) and often the kids and parents dress up similarly so it's like a roving party.
I find myself far less concerned with the older kids trick-or-treating than the parent with an infant who clearly should not be having candy coming to the door to get their candy.
I think a long as there is effort in dressing up and their are respectful, there is no problem with older kids going out. I do expect a thank you though and call kids out on it if they fail to say thank you!
I have a nice simple rule of thumb: If they're old enough to do it by themselves (i.e. without an adult accompanying them) then they're too old.