Are you ever too old to go trick or treating?
Shortly after dark tonight, your doorbell rings. You approach the door – candy bowl in hand – ready to treat some little superheroes, clowns or princesses. Instead, you discover a pre-teen or even a teenager holding a bag and wanting treats of their own.
What do you do?
That scenario crops up every year and raises the question: how old is too old to go trick or treating?
A 2015 survey on fivethirtyeight.com showed 57 percent thought somewhere between 12 and 15 as being too old to go door-to-door asking for candy. Other people were more flexible. Almost 19 percent said they thought it was fine to go trick or treating past age 18. A Cinncinati.com poll agreed, with 52 percent saying they didn’t think there should be a cutoff on trick or treating age. Fifteen years old was the limit for 17 percent; 14 was third with 13 percent.
Not everyone is in the spooky spirit, however. Fivethirtyeight.com found 10 percent of people said they didn’t celebrate Halloween at all. Fifty-eight percent handed out candy, compared to 42 percent who didn’t and must have been prepared for the tricks.
Some cities have attempted to codify who can and who can’t trick or treat, only to have the matter haunt them for years.
Chesapeake, Virginia has a decades-old law that threatens teenagers with a fine or even jail time if they trick-or-treat.
The city has a law on the books limiting trick-or-treating to anyone 14 and younger. City officials are quick to point out revisions have taken out any mention of jail time and the law – which stemmed from a firecracker being thrown into a trick-or-treater’s bag – has never really been enforced.
That doesn’t keep news of the ban from going viral on social media around the Halloween holiday.
Recently, city officials posted a message on Facebook saying that this law has never been enforced.
“It only existed to give police an option, should things get out of hand on Halloween. In fact, it was created following a particularly violent Halloween in a neighboring city,” city officials said. “While we appreciate all of the concern and attention we received from around the country last year, we’d like to assure everyone that, in fact, we do not arrest teens for trick-or-treating and never have.”