Rules for My Teenaged Trick-or-Treaters


Growing up, Halloween was always the pinnacle of fall. We counted down the days until Trick-or-Treat. How could you not get excited over the thought of creating an awesome costume, collecting candy with friends, and then trading those sugary treasures with your siblings? I have many fond memories of those traditions and seeing all my fellow trick-or-treaters out too.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to watch my own children enjoy these autumnal rites of passage, too. Watching them experience these lighthearted, sugar-buzz-fueled moments has been a joy.

Then suddenly, they became teenagers and the fun stopped!

Costume planning has been replaced by studying for tests, candy collecting has fallen off their jam-packed schedules, and they barely have time to speak with their siblings let alone spend quality time with them. Trick-or-Treating is just one more thing they have to let go as they prepare for adulthood.

But does it really have to end so soon?

There seems to be a stigma about teens and trick-or-treating, that they are too old to participate as trick-or-treaters. In fact, I bought into those beliefs until my own kids became teens. I didn’t want them getting in the way of the littles, and I didn’t want the neighbors to judge them (or me!)

But as my kids got older and I began to realize the immense pressure they are under to act much older than they are, my mindset about certain things began to change. Have you ever seen a stressed out adolescent have a Nerf battle with neighborhood kids? Or play with bubbles? Or jump in on an intense round of Duck, Duck, Goose? I have. To watch their faces light up and their shoulders relax as they forget their current woes and just enjoy being a kid again is truly amazing. I’ve decided that if my teens want some time every now and then to just relish in their childhood a bit longer, that is fine by me. 

So if they want to throw on a costume, grab a pillowcase, and hit the sidewalks on October 31st, I’m all for it.

However, being the elders of the ghosts and goblins on Beggars’ Night, they will certainly have a set of rules to follow should they choose to participate this year:

  1. Remember your manners and be respectful. (This is always a rule!)
  2. Let the little kids go first. (See Rule #1.)
  3. Save all the peanut M&Ms for your mom. (Ok, this one is negotiable.)

Any other teens that come to my door will be held to the first two rules, greeted with a smile, and probably reminded to “have fun and be careful” because sometimes, it’s just too hard to turn off the “Mom mode.” 

If you see a teenager out this year on Beggars’ Night, please try to hold your judgement and offer an encouraging smile instead of a snarky remark about their age. They’ve had it rough these last couple of years, and with adulthood looming, they need every single chance to just be a kid again.

Even if that means they have to surrender all their peanut M&Ms.

teenage trick-or-treating


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