When I was 13, I lost my cousin in a car accident. It was just before Halloween and it made it very difficult to celebrate, on any level.
It had been a couple of days and I didn't really want to go out, but my parents encouraged me to trick-or-treat anyway, telling me that my cousin would have wanted me to go. I think they also just wanted to take my mind off of everything.
So I went.
The first house I went to, they said it. "Aren't you a little old to be trick-or-treating?"
I felt guilty and horrible. It was on that Halloween that I realized adult-ing would be hard. I lived in a world where bad things could happen to good people, the best people, and I was too old to trick-or-treat.
I've spent the rest of my life fighting those two realizations. I've also gone out of my way, probably in spite of that Halloween, to make Halloween extra special and fun.
So here is my take on this: No! You are never too old to celebrate! Life is short and childhood is even shorter. Say Happy Halloween and hand over the candy.
The only reasons not to hand out candy on Halloween:
1. You ran out of candy.
2. You are celebrating the holiday elsewhere.
3. You are a jerk and would like to make that fact perfectly clear.
How sad that we are even discussing a maximum age for trick-or-treating. I watched the poll on the "Today Show" and was astounded. Sixty-one percent in favor?
Do we even know the origins of Halloween? People dress up as spirits to keep them at bay and by providing food or "treats'" you receive good luck. So essentially, all trick-or-treaters are doing you a service.
Just to be fair, let's look at the argument for a a maximum age.
Kids of a certain age shouldn't be acting like what? ... kids?
I'd rather my teen trick-or-treat a little too long than go to some of the high school parties they'd otherwise end up at. If it bothers you, just think with every Snickers you hand out, you're doing your part to fight underage drinking.
Halloween is for everyone!
If you come to my house dressed in costume and say, "trick-or-treat," I don't care if you're 40. I might roll my eyes at the 40-year-old who doesn't dress up and walks his or her baby (who can't eat solid foods yet) up to my door, but I will still hand it over. Maybe I should stock up on baby food - keeping the "trick" alive.
It's Halloween and it's meant to be fun.
The only rules for my kids, and I feel these should apply to others, are as follows:
1. Dress up, show up and be awesome.
2. Trick-or-treat your family and neighborhood route unless trick-or-treating with a friend.
3. You may not go to someone's house that I don't know within our agreed-upon route without me or a trusted adult. Ever. Like always, I need to know where you will be and a general GPS on your whereabouts at all times.
4. Say, "hello," "trick-or-treat," "Happy Halloween" or a greeting of your choice loudly.
5. If you don't like what they have, the rules of gift-giving apply. Take ONE and be thankful, end of story. For the love of all that is good and decent, don't say you're not a fan of chocolate but you'll take it for your mom. I mean, I'll take it, but don't advertise that!
6. Say "Thank you!" Say it loud. Especially if you're in a group. Be thankful because if I hear that you weren't, then you may lose this privilege. Oh, and I will hear. I always hear. Remember that children.
Those are the only rules and should be the only rules for Halloween, no matter what age you are.
Be safe and Happy Halloween!
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.