October 31 is a night filled with joyous squeals coupled with sugar highs as children run around in itchy costumes knocking on doors in search of sweet treats. Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the United States, with the country spending about 8.4 billion on the holiday in 2016 alone. But at what age is the line drawn between cute and creepy?
Many children start the tradition of trick-or-treating early on as toddlers and continue to celebrate throughout elementary and their first years of middle school with class parties and elaborate, well-planned costumes. As children grow, the abundant flow of Halloween-themed activities begin to slow and a majority start losing interest in the biggest aspect of the holiday.
“I stopped around three years ago because it was really tiring,” sophomore Jessica Andrei said. “I just couldn’t find the fun in it anymore.”
Others stop the hunt for Halloween candy because of the association the event has with young children. Transitioning from middle to high school can be difficult, especially when trying to appear more mature. In a way, continuing to trick-or-treat can be viewed as reversing the progress some students have made.
“When you are in 8th grade you feel much closer to being in 6th grade and you don’t feel like much has changed,” freshman Rachel Goldberg said. “Once you enter high school you start looking at seniors and thinking you are closer to them [in age] and feel a lot more grown up.”
Those who have decided to drop trick-or-treating have turned to other alternatives. Some students choose to stay home passing out candy while others may attend or throw parties.
“I think when we start going to high school we realize that there are better things to do for Halloween than go trick-or-treating,” Andrei said. “I like to stay inside and watch all of the old Disney Halloween movies while enjoying some ice cream.”
On the contrary, others have continued to trick-or-treat because of the joy it brings them.
“It’s fun to be childish for a night and to spend that time getting free candy and walking around with friends,” sophomore Katlyn Behr said.
It is quite obvious that the holiday’s participant demographic is dominated by younger children. However, those who enjoy going trick-or-treating every year, despite the age gap, shouldn’t be barred from the event so long as they are cautious of the younger children around them.
“I think kids should trick-or-treat until they don’t want to anymore. As long as they are being considerate of the younger kids,” senior Courtney Turk said. “It’s a fun holiday and everyone should have the ability to participate.”
That being said, there is a point when trick or treating becomes a bit weird if the person in question is not accompanying a child. This is because the holiday is dominated by small children and walking among them at night dressed up exotically can send the wrong message.
Something to keep in mind this Halloween is that it is enthusiastically celebrated by those of all ages and people shouldn’t exclude people from the event because of it.
Photo by CC license July 23, 2012