The Halloween Age Debate
People are only too happy to give out candy to preschool, kindergarten and elementary kids who have their cute and often creative Halloween costumes. But while they often have their parents, older siblings, or guardians with them, the tweens and teens often don’t have anyone watching them. Without supervision, they often roam the streets well into the night.
There’s definitely quite a debate about letting older kids roam the street late into the Halloween night. There are parents who are only happy to let their older children enjoy their Halloween costumes and the fun that goes with trick-or-treating. But other parents have the concern that teens, who love to experiment, might be out doing a lot more than that. While alcohol, drugs, and sex aren’t necessarily in the picture, there are plenty of other reasons that can get teens in trouble without supervision.
The real concern is that there are many strange and unsavory characters out and about on Halloween. While you may not see them walking around, many neighborhoods have them. There are lurkers who often sit in cars and can pounce on unsuspecting children without notice. This is perhaps the greatest argument against letting kids go out on Halloween night.
There’s also the problem of the “mob mentality” that often leads to kids doing things that they would never do on their own. As Halloween is famously a night of causing trouble, even the most well-behaved kids may find themselves doing things that could get them breaking the law or putting themselves in great danger.
Should Your Pre-Teens and Teens Choose an Alternative to Trick-or-Treating?
The obvious solution to the Halloween age debate is to supervise your trick-or-treating children, no matter how old they are. Of course, most teens don’t want their parents lurking behind them, as that may be a source of embarrassment for them. There are ways for your older children to still enjoy their Halloween costumes and night out, however.
Some parents let their older kids dress up in their Halloween costumes but tell them that they need to stay home and hand out the candy. This isn’t always the best solution, though, as you do want your kids to have fun.
The better solution to that is to host a Halloween party where your kids can have their friends over in a safe environment. This is a much better compromise than essentially giving your Kids a chore on what’s supposed to be a fun night. With a party, your kids can choose a theme and be creative, without all the wandering about. There’s also harvest parties at local churches and community centers. You could also visit haunted houses or go on hayrides as a family.
What if Your Kids Just Want to Go Trick-Or-Treating
If your kids really insist on still trick-or-treating, there are safety precautions that they can take. Be sure that they keep themselves highly visible with things like glow-in-the-dark costumes or accessories. It’s also a good idea to have someone watching your children who they wouldn’t be embarrassed about having follow them around, such as a family friend or relative.
Really, there’s no age limit on trick-or-treating. Yes, there are plenty of alternative, but you want your kids to be able to choose their own activity on Halloween night. Present the alternatives, but ultimately, try to let your child do what they want to do, within reason and while taking the right safety precautions. Halloween is about having fun, and it’s just good sense to stay safe, no matter what age your kids are.