Pumpkins carved to say trick or treat.

Do you have a tween or teen who still wants to trick-or-treat, but you aren’t sure when the cut-off age should be? As kids get older, we often wonder when it’s appropriate for them to stop. Finding the right age can be a subjective decision, but there are some factors to consider when deciding if kids should stop trick-or-treating.

How Old Is Too Old To Trick or Treat?

Every child and every family is different! Here are a few things to think about when trying to figure out what’s best for your family’s situation:

Peer Influence

If many of your child’s friends are still participating, they may want to join in, even if they’re on the cusp of what you consider an appropriate age to stop.

Local Culture and Norms

The cultural and neighborhood norms can also influence your decision. In some communities, it’s common to see a wide range of ages trick-or-treating, while in others, it may be less common for older children to participate.

Interest and Enthusiasm

If your child is passionate about dressing up and participating in the festivities, they may want to continue for a few more years.

Local Laws

Some neighborhoods and HOA’s place age restrictions on trick-or-treating. Be sure to check and see if your area has age limitations or regulations.

A teen goes trick-or- treating.

Things Teens Should Keep In Mind When Trick-or-Treating

Respect Curfew

Some neighborhoods or communities may have specific curfew rules for Halloween night. Be aware of these curfews and ensure they know when to be home.

Travel in small groups

Like it or not, people sometimes feel uneasy around large groups of teens. Have your teen trick or treat with a small group.

Carefully Choose Costumes

Don’t let your teenager go around in a costume that is going to terrify younger children or people opening the door!

Respect Property

Your teen should know to be respectful when approaching houses. Only visit homes with lights on and decorations indicating they’re participating in Halloween. Don’t trample on lawns or damage property. Always say “thank you” after receiving treats.

Avoid Pranks

Smashing pumpkins and toilet papering homes is not cool on Halloween, (Or any other day!) Trick-or-Treating isn’t an excuse to be causing trouble in the neighborhood.

What Are The Concerns About Older Trick-or-Treaters?

Some communities have had issues relating to bullying or vandalism caused by teenagers. Other neighborhoods worry about teens stealing from younger children. Some people are just generally uneasy about teenagers roaming around together in groups at night.

Examples of Trick-or-Treating Age Restrictions
  • Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada: Kids 16 or older are prohibited from trick-or-treating, and Halloween festivities end at 8 p.m.
  • Apex, North Carolina, USA: Anyone older than 12 is prohibited from trick-or-treating, and trick-or-treating ends at 9 p.m.
  • Belleville, Illinois, USA: Trick-or-treating is capped at age 12.
  • Other towns in Virginia, Mississippi, and other states: Similar restrictions have been set up in recent years.

This is of course not a complete list, but an example of why you will want to be aware of your areas laws and regulations when deciding if your child is too old to trick-or-treat.

Interesting Surveys On When Kids Should Stop Trick-or-Treating

According to a TODAY PARENTS survey, “Sixteen percent of adults felt kids should stop trick-or-treating around 17 or 18, while 19% said age 15 or 16 is the stopping point. And 1% said kids older than 9 shouldn’t go door-to-door.”

A separate survey from YouGov found that about “one in four Americans say children can never be too old to go trick-or-treating. But about one in eight (12%) think children become too old to go trick-or-treating at age 12. Another 11% will give kids an additional year of trick-or-treating. Another 8% say it’s OK to trick-or-treat until age 14 and 7% think a child becomes too old for trick-or-treating at age 15.”

When You See Teens Trick-or-Treating, Err On Side Of Kindness

If teens have dressed up and are well mannered, consider erring on the side of kindness when it comes to older kids trick or treating. Children have a wide range of maturity levels at different ages. As long as they aren’t causing any trouble, there’s no harm in giving them some leeway.

A corn maze at night.

Alternatives to Trick-or-Treating

If you and your child decide that it’s time to move on from trick-or-treating, there are several great alternatives to consider:

Halloween Parties

Host or attend Halloween parties with friends and family. This can be a fun and safe way to celebrate the holiday.

Haunted Houses

Haunted houses can be a scary alternative if your older child is looking for more thrills on halloween.

Halloween Carnivals and Other Events

Start a new tradition by attending a community event or a carnival. Many schools use these as opportunities to raise money.

Watch Scary Movies With Friends

There are tons of Halloween movies with varying scare levels. Have your teen invite some friends over and make a fun treat.

Hang Out Around a Fire Pit

Roast some hot dogs and marshmallows over a roaring fire pit. Tell scary stories or put on a fun playlist for everyone to enjoy.

Take Them To A Cornmaze

Getting lost in a corn maze can be a great way to have some fun on halloween. Haunted corn mazes can make the evening more exciting.

Children get some candy on halloween.

Ways To Include Your Teenager On Halloween Night

Have Your Teen Dress Up and Help Pass Out Candy

Make Halloween fun by letting your teen help pass out candy. They can delight trick-or-treaters with a fun costume and feel the joy that comes from giving to others.

Have Your Teen Take Your Younger Children Trick or Treating

If your teen is still interested in trick-or-treating, consider letting them help take younger siblings trick-or-treating. This is a fun way for them to get out and also be a big help. Just be sure you can trust them to be responsible when caring for younger brothers or sisters.

How To Talk To Your Teen About Starting a New Halloween Tradition

When talking to your teenager about quitting trick-or-treating, keep it relaxed and empathetic. Let them know you get their love for Halloween and involve them in the decision-making. Share your safety and age-related concerns and mention alternatives for celebrating. If needed, set some basic rules and be open to revisiting the conversation. Respect their opinions, and discuss fun alternatives they can enjoy with friends or family.

When Should Kids Stop Trick-or-Treating?

Determining when your child should stop trick-or-treating is a decision that should be made based on individual circumstances and what the rules are in your community. It’s key to prioritize your child’s interests, maturity level, and safety. Whether through trick-or-treating, or other alternative celebrations, Halloween can be enjoyed by children of all ages.

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