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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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What you need to know about 6-foot trick-or-treaters

MarionFranckW

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From page A19 | October 27, 2013 | 259 Comments

I thought it was all about big boys, who should have known better, shaking me down for candy. They’d arrive in clumps, shout “trick or treat,” and shove undecorated brown paper bags in my direction. It didn’t feel right.

Then again, some things don’t make sense until you’ve lived them with your own child– and not a moment sooner.

The tale I tell today is from the year 2000, Halloween day. My 15-year-old son, a sophomore at Davis High School, comes home and says, “Mom, I have an idea.”

Then he pauses. “No, forget it.”

“Aw, come on, tell me.” My hands assume a begging position, like a squirrel hoping for a nut.

“Maybe I’ll invite some friends over this evening,” he says.

Like every mom of a young male, I’ve worried about his social skills, so this sounds good to me. I tell him “yes” but I also ask him to carve pumpkins with me before his friends show up. Never before have we carved pumpkins without his sister, who has just gone off to college. This is the third-to-last time I’ll get to do it with him.

I spread newspaper on the table and choose the smaller pumpkin for myself.

“Hey, I’ve got a thin-skinned one this year, easy for carving,” he announces, hefting the larger pumpkin lightly from hand to hand.

“Maybe you just got stronger,” I say.

After we finish the job and set up our two pumpkins by the window, he’s on the phone, then off the phone, then on again until he walks in and announces that he needs candy for his friends.

“How many friends?”

“I don’t know. Three. Or two. Or five.”

I make a quick run to the market. These boys are too big now to go house to house trick-or-treating, so I want to buy a hefty consolation prize. I choose big Milky Way bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (large size) and a bag of M&M’s.

————

At 7:15, guys start showing up. One is half in costume, the rest in school clothes. Like 15-year-olds everywhere, they come in a range of sizes. One boy is 6’2” and speaks in a deep bass. Another is only 5’4” but loud. The house reverberates with sound.

Even though my son knows I bought candy, I hear him say, “Wanna go out for a while and trick or treat?”

I immediately remember other Halloweens when I was acutely annoyed by large packs of teens, most without costumes, who showed up late at my door and growled in bass voices, “Trick or treat.” They hadn’t done their part — dressing up — but I still had to do mine.

I want to protest to my son, but things are moving too fast for me to get a word in. The boys are running in and out of my son’s room grabbing possible outfits (an old cape, a flowered shirt, a skeleton mask) and my husband is poking around in the garage looking for the sickle he made a couple of years ago when my son dressed up as “Death.”

One boy emerges in a too-small fishing hat and asks for a rod. In my daughter’s room, I find a witch’s hat, complete with glued-on grey hair. The big guy claims it.

In five minutes flat, everyone is partially in costume and heading down the sidewalk. I hear their deep voices as they laugh. I cross my fingers that the neighbors will understand.

————

That night I was reminded that parents are not the only ones who regret the passing years. A year earlier, for the first time, my son gave out candy instead of trick or treating. It was an OK experience, but not worth repeating. It’s much more fun to go trick-or-treating with a bunch of guys and if the neighbors are grumpy, it’s easier to laugh things off when you’re in a crowd.

So here’s what I can pass on, if you don’t have your own 15-year-old boy.

When a crowd of under-costumed teens shows up on your doorstep, welcome them. It’s a big group because they find strength in numbers. They’re not wearing costumes because they didn’t realize that they’d want to go–nor how badly.

Give them big bars. Don’t tell them they’re too old. They already know that.

Let them pretend it just isn’t so.

— Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at marionf2@gmail.com

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Discussion | 259 comments

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  • tracyOctober 28, 2013 - 5:35 pm

    Thanks for this. Treating others with kindness and empathy is always a good word. Wisdom found early for this mom of a five year old who finds herself grumpy from time to time. ;)

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  • Laura James-BuchananOctober 29, 2013 - 11:16 pm

    I always give the older kids candy.. as an adult, I still miss trick or treating, it was a fun time. Kids grow up so fast so let them be kids until they have to grow up. A 17 year old is still a kid at heart, lol. I know mine were.

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  • Laura Laurei Koval HruskocyOctober 31, 2013 - 9:10 am

    I never had problems with older children. I think it's funny and why can't they still have candy. As long as they have manners, who cares. They usually do have manners too and I appreciate that too!

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  • SueOctober 31, 2013 - 2:30 pm

    I also thank you... I'd much rather see them trick-or-treating then finding "tricks" to pull...at 60, i"d still love to go! :-o

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  • L.DarrahOctober 28, 2013 - 7:23 pm

    I so agree with welcoming trick or treaters of all ages. After all, what would you want these teens to be doing? We need to welcome them and give them as many chances as possible to be kids.

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  • PsydOctober 31, 2013 - 12:16 pm

    I'm one of those older kids (51) who contemplates getting a big papier-mache head-shoulders-arms disguise/costume, putting two fake eye-holes at about waist level, and sticking my hands out underneath with a bag in them, and going door-to-door. I can easily buy a bag of assorted candies, but it isn't the same. If a 'kid' shows up in a 'giant' costume, with huge and work-worn hands, just give up the chocolate and know that you've made a very old kid happy!

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  • KimOctober 31, 2013 - 3:44 pm

    I would give you all the candy :)

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  • Princess DianaNovember 02, 2013 - 10:12 am

    Good for them. Growing up is tough and it is sometimes difficult to give up childhood harmless fun.

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  • D. RamosOctober 28, 2013 - 8:38 pm

    Great, very well written article! So very true!

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  • October 29, 2013 - 6:52 am

    When I was just 12 I stood 5'6" tall...by 13...6'5"! Sometimes when kids are tall...doesn't always mean they are "older"....I was awkward enough at 13...but still...just a kid...I'm still just a kid...at 64 yrs. old...and love Halloween still...but my trick or treating is behind me...although I still dress up for it!!!!

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  • KarenOctober 29, 2013 - 8:47 am

    That's so true. My 12 year old is also 5' 6" and still a "little kid." He was so excited to go find a costume (Adult Medium) and was a flurry of energy helping to decorate the house and help with his younger sister's party. His best friend's mom wants them to go out by themselves, but he's comforted knowing that I will be out there with his sister.

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  • KarenOctober 30, 2013 - 6:28 am

    Love this- I have an almost 12 year old who is very small, and very much still a kid- He is going with his friends for the first time this year- but we will be right behind him with his younger brother. Thanks for reminding us that kids come in all sizes in these years.

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  • joyceNovember 01, 2013 - 6:17 pm

    I was 5'6" WHEN I WAS TWELVE AND A BIG GIRL. I WAS THOUGHT TO BE MY BROTHERS MOM. iT REALLY HURTY MY FEELINGS THEN. Now I know better that to judge by size. I had a few gangs tonight. They were all nice polite young men . When one said "Trick or treat "his voice cracked and we had a good laugh' I'm 70 and I still dress up to hand out the candy

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  • MKOctober 29, 2013 - 7:22 am

    I love this! I feel so blessed to be the mother of boys ... and to read this about them staying "boys" past us viewing them as "boys" ... it's priceless!!

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  • Debra DeAngeloOctober 29, 2013 - 8:45 am

    I agree with you... underneath the gruff non-costume are kids who just want to hold on to childhood awhile longer. It's not so bad. As for the PARENTS who trick-or-treat with infants to get the candy.... babies who are entirely too young to even eat it if they wanted to.... THOSE folks annoy me.

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  • CindiOctober 29, 2013 - 12:25 pm

    Debra might have missed the whole point of being kind to all trick or treaters. Moms and dads LOVE to show off their babies in costume, and who's to say we parents aren't trying to hold onto some form of our own childhood through our kids?

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  • Kat ValleleyOctober 29, 2013 - 12:41 pm

    Indeed, Cindi! I'll never forget a kind cashier who understood that moms like lollipops as much as kids and offered me one too.

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  • CindiOctober 29, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    My mom hated all things Halloween when i was growing up. We had to fend for ourselves when it came to costumes. And we usually went w a friend bc my mom didn't want to take us. I now happen to love halloween and make sure the kids (and I :) have lots of fun. This mom gets into it. I took my infants :)

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  • October 29, 2013 - 3:01 pm

    You go Cindi, you're welcome at my house anytime for Halloween, infants or not. Debra will just have to be annoyed.

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  • MelanieOctober 31, 2013 - 2:19 pm

    For Debora we buy teething cookies or little bags of goldfish crackers or pretzles for the tiny ones

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  • JenniferOctober 30, 2013 - 11:48 am

    Aw! Bring those adorable dressed-up babies to my house! It's worth the candy!

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  • JodieOctober 30, 2013 - 2:55 pm

    Lol I've been brining my kids trick or treating since they were infants as well! I LOVE Halloween! Bring them to my house as well! Lol Jell-O shots for the parents? Jk :)

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  • nurseartistOctober 30, 2013 - 4:24 pm

    Are you just wanting to keep and eat all that candy yourself, Debra? Can you say Stingy"?

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  • MichelleOctober 31, 2013 - 9:13 am

    Really, Debra? Do you really think it's just a cheap move to get free candy? I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with new parents being absolutely enamored of their new babies, and wanting to dress them up in cute costumes and show them off. Because you know how new parents are -- won't show you pics of the baby or anything unless you give them candy first.

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  • Megan BruchOctober 31, 2013 - 12:35 pm

    I think everyone's being a bit harsh to you, Debra. Candy is expensive. I get it. But this year, I'm the mom of year-old twins and yep - I'm dressing them up and taking them out with their big brother (who is 5). Last year they were just a few months old, but people still insisted they get candy, so I took it, even though they didn't have their own treat bags. This year they still don't eat candy, but they might carry a bag just for fun, because that's what it is - FUN. I understand you may get peeved, but try to laugh it off and enjoy the cute babes. :) Have a happy Halloween!

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  • BeccaOctober 31, 2013 - 1:56 pm

    We have trick or treated since my oldest was 2. His younger brother was not quite a year his first trick or treat. He slept most of the time on my husband, but, we got a lot of "aw, he is so cute! What a cute little peapod! I didn't trick or treat as a kid, and, there now, I love to take them. The parents who take their infants know that we will only have our children for so long, and that they will only want to be with us for so long. Debra,you must not have children!!!!

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  • StephNovember 01, 2013 - 7:08 am

    I would suggest that you might not make assumptions. I took my 16 month old niece out (with her 3 1/2 year old sister and 6 year old cousin.) The baby got tons of candy.. but we ended up taking out everything she couldn't eat, pulling out a few things for her, then splitting up the rest of the candy between the other 2. My brother is divorced, and won't have his girls for the next 3 Halloweens. This was his chance to spend Halloween with his kids, even if one of them is too young to appreciate the entire experience. Please don't make assumptions about adults getting the candy for babies. A lot of the time, they don't.

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  • AngieNovember 01, 2013 - 7:50 am

    Oh I agree with Debra. Parents trick-or-treating with just a baby is weird. If the kid is too young to walk, they're too young to trick-or-treat unless with older siblings. We all know the baby can't eat the junk we're handing out, so it's sort of awkward. And for folks validating it because they want to show their baby off, there are other ways to show-off the baby (post the pic on Facebook in the outfit). Our small town had a bunch of local library, church, and town events to show off your baby in person.

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  • maryNovember 01, 2013 - 3:19 pm

    first off... who ever said there was an age limit on Halloween.... If you come to my door and I have candy left, your getting some.... my oldest boy started trick or treating at 6 months old, not so much for the candy as the tradition. saying a young baby cant trick or treat is like saying a new born cant have Christmas. its crazy. initially your age doesn't say anything about your youth .... how you act does.. I don't care if you are just born or 100 years old, you want to dress up and have fun, be a kid for a day, I'll give you candy...

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  • Kat ValleleyOctober 29, 2013 - 12:39 pm

    Thanks so much for this. Made me a little verklempt! My kids are all teens now and still trick or treat every year. I am hoping they will outgrow it naturally before someone is rude to them. Hopefully your words will help hold back the rudeness!

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  • Susan Ann MalinowskiOctober 29, 2013 - 2:40 pm

    Thank you for the perspective! I was feeling extorted. I remember now feeling too old and that loss. We were just talking about this at work! I'll be sure to share :)

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  • MaytOctober 29, 2013 - 4:46 pm

    I'm 15 and oh my god this describes my life

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  • Carla FosterOctober 29, 2013 - 5:03 pm

    It's entirely my opinion, but WHEN did we as a society, get to be such a stick in the mud? I remember in the late 80's, being in high school, and I NEVER heard we were too old to trick or treat. I think anyone, even if they're 101, should be able to trick or treat, as long as they have a costume, not just everyday clothes. It's one night a year, that even us old, responsible, grown ups, could revert back to our child at heart and for 2 hours be a kid again. I'd give anything to be able to go back in time, and relive those precious hours, when they only care we had in the world, was what kind of candy the house down the block was handing out. lol

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  • freethinkertxOctober 30, 2013 - 3:43 pm

    I remember people being sticks-in-the-mud about this back in the 70s. When I was 12 (twelve!) I tried to go trick-or-treating with my best friend. We stopped after the 4th or 5th house because the adults told us we were too old. :-(

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  • LindaOctober 31, 2013 - 1:41 pm

    at ten I was about 5'5" and ah...womanly. I was told at about every other house (late 1960's) that I was too old and should be ashamed. The twelve year old friend with me looked younger....nothing said to her. I never went again.

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  • lilyseaOctober 29, 2013 - 5:50 pm

    Absolutely. My feeling is that if you've agreed to give candy out to strangers, you've agreed to give candy out to strangers. A gift is a gift. You don't get to put conditions on it. Best to assume the best in people and what if a snickers does accidentally get slipped to some undeserving person? Who DOESN'T deserve a snickers? Really, lighten up.

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  • SGambillOctober 29, 2013 - 8:23 pm

    I happily give out candy to the teens who are out having fun that isn't hurting anyone. These same kids could be doing much worse things that could hurt not only themselves but others. Encourage them to stay young as long as possible. They grow up to fast as it is!

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  • October 29, 2013 - 8:35 pm

    Very nice story !!!!! What it really boils down to ---- it is HALLOWEEN ---BE NICE !!!!!! No matter what age ----- childhood doesn't last very long !!!!! TRICK OR TREAT EVERYONE !!!!!!!!! Oh!!!! To be a kid again !!!!!!

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  • October 29, 2013 - 8:59 pm

    Teens should be able to trick-or-treat for as long as they wish. I can't believe that people think 15 is "too old". My son trick-or-treated well into his teens (until we went on the Paleo diet and stopped eating sugar). My friends and I trick-or-treated all the way to age 18 and my sister and I went out when I was 21 for fun. I don't see why adults have to ruin childhood by dictating when it ends for individuals.

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  • Shan Jeniah BurtonOctober 30, 2013 - 2:57 am

    I have tears in my eyes reading this. You see, my son was 12 just last month . He's climbing my nose in height, these days, and I am 5'9". His voice and face are changing. He's at once very grown, and still young enough that, although he thinks he might want a girlfriend someday, someday hasn't come yet. He'd rather be a buddy to his younger sister, who will play Minecraft and build things with him. Last year, he was Guy in a Leather Jacket, wearing a still a bit too large jacket handed down by an adult friend. This year, while his sister excitedly pored over the costume catalogs (she's 9), and made a trip to the costume shop before she settled on the just right fashionable werewolf costume she's already been in and out of a dozen times or more, he's stated that he intends to be Super Lazy Guy, who has a pillow strapped to the back of his head. This is so that he won't need to comb his long curls. Fifteen is so close, and he still has so much growing to do. I don't want to rush it, not even if he's bigger than me by next Halloween (not that unlikely!). Kudos to you and your husband for sending that herd of men-to-be happily out to be young just a while longer. =)

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  • KathyOctober 30, 2013 - 8:39 am

    "Super Lazy Guy" is a _very_ clever costume, and gets a big thumbs up from me!

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  • Rosanne DillonNovember 01, 2013 - 6:41 pm

    I thought I was the only one. This brought tears to my eyes as well. My girls are both off at college and I miss the days of their youth and traditions! Loved this article!

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  • Jennifer F.October 30, 2013 - 5:26 am

    Lovely reminder that the transition into adulthood isn't necessarily as simply as flicking a switch. I remember many years ago when my children were young, my husband took the three out TorTing, while I stayed home passing out the candy. The big groups of big teenagers at first intimidated me, but I never denied anyone candy. Over the years I started playfully harassing those without a costume to at least tell me a joke to "earn" their candy, but it was never really a requirement. Now as my eldest as filling out college applications, she is also talking to some of her friends into going out to a few houses on Halloween. The juxtaposition of stepping into adulthood and holding on to childhood traditions is bittersweet. The candy is bought, why not pass it out?

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  • EllenOctober 30, 2013 - 6:00 am

    Thanks so much for this. My daughter is a freshman in college and my son is 14. So we will be doing Halloween this year without our daughter for the first time. Thinking that we only have a few more Halloweens with our son brought tears to my eyes. He wasn't sure he wanted to go trick or treating, but we encouraged him to go, and he's looking forward to it. I'm sure it will be with a group of boys, and I dearly hope the neighbors are kind and understanding.

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  • thehearthealerMichelle SuttonOctober 30, 2013 - 7:01 am

    Children's develoment ebbs and flows all through thier growing years. Think of your toddler. Oneminutes he's independently crusing around the house. Next minute? he wants to cuddle on your lap. No different with teens! There isnothing wrong with teens trick or treating. heck, at least they aren't breaking into cars! We should be thankful.

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  • Alison SamuelOctober 30, 2013 - 7:42 am

    I loved this! My 14 yr. old big boy just informed me he's going out with friends...I cringed a little but said nothing..wanting to ask "aren"t you a little old?" now I'm glad I didn't! And when I drop him off tomorrow night, I will tell him be safe, & have fun!!

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  • Priscilla PerkinsOctober 30, 2013 - 8:06 am

    Wonderful article. I'm the mother of a 16-year-old whose trick-or-treating days are over. How I miss those days!

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  • DashOctober 30, 2013 - 8:06 am

    Very well written and a great perspective to share. Thank You!

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  • October 30, 2013 - 8:37 am

    Love this!! It brought tears to my eyes. Nothing wrong with still wanting to be a kid.

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  • Juliana LeeOctober 30, 2013 - 8:52 am

    I agree! Your well-timed story reminds me of my own kids not really wanting to out-grow some childhood traditions. I'm glad they have fond memories and will pass the traditions down to their own children.

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  • CarrieOctober 30, 2013 - 9:12 am

    It's not just boys. My 12 year old daughter is 5'5 and could well pass for 16. 13 was the cut off point when I was a kid. I still miss it and enjoy handing out candy well at our house it's pop corn. As long as she wants to go I'll let her. It's always been for the kids anyway.

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  • LisaOctober 30, 2013 - 12:31 pm

    Yup, I know a girl who is 5'10". She is in the 5th grade and close to turning 11.

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  • Mrs. BOctober 30, 2013 - 9:15 am

    Agreed; I have one whose birthday is actually on Halloween. She chose not to t-o-t the past 2 years, but decided to with a group of friends this year for her 17th birthday, wistfully pointing out "this is my last year of childhood." Another related issue is I have an 11 year old who is 5'7", well on her way to being close to 6' tall by next year when she'll be only 12. Because of her height, all her life she's been on the receiving end of those "aren't you too big for that" looks- when she was being totally age appropriate. So some of those "big kids" might well not even be as big as you assume.

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  • JeannineOctober 30, 2013 - 10:05 am

    >That night I was reminded that parents are not the only ones who regret the passing years. Geez, would whoever is cutting onions here please stop?!

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  • jewelmcjemOctober 30, 2013 - 10:29 am

    One fun idea we did in college was to do a can drive. People always love to give to the local food pantry, and we still got the fun of dressing up and being goofy.

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  • October 30, 2013 - 9:48 am

    Thank you so much for this as a mother of a 6'1 14 yr old I have seen the looks and heard the comments about 'my your a big one for the last few yrs taking my boys trick or treating. Just cause hes very tall dosent mean hes not still a kid!

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  • Pam Thomas ParkerOctober 30, 2013 - 9:58 am

    As the parent of a 6'1" 220 lb 14 yo boy who just said last night he wanted to go trick or treating your piece is so timely. I have read it twice and it brought me to tears both times. I struggled with letting him go. I felt every arguement you laid out. I even surveyed my friends on fb last night about letting my "manpuppy" go. Your article comvinced me to let him. It also reminded me that here in NJ he hasn't had decent Halloweens over his life: Superstorm Sandy scuttled last year. The previous year it snowed. And even as a small kid, we lived in a neighborhood that was ground zero for anthrax, complete with ill mail carrier, FBI parked on the block, and mailbox swabbings. I was not about to let him go for candy from people I didn't know that year. So this year he will go. And I am on my way to go buy bigger candy.

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  • MaeveOctober 30, 2013 - 10:28 am

    I'm glad I read this. My oldest is 16, and he was just telling me that he and a bunch of friends want to go trick-or-treating tomorrow night, and I was a bit concerned because people CAN be rude when it comes to teenagers. But when it comes to Hallowe'en, he is as much a little kid as his siblings, who are 10 and 12. In fact, I think in some things, he is MORE of a little kid than they are! :)

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  • NancyOctober 30, 2013 - 10:29 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! What a wonderful reminder to let out kids be kids. Society today rushes our childrens childhood. We need to encourage our kids to enjoy every last minute of being a kid and we need to remind adults to give them space in order to enjoy their childhood.

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  • Hallie KasiriOctober 30, 2013 - 10:29 am

    This is just lovely. What a sweet, sweet mama you are. I can just feel the love you have for your boy. <3

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  • Naomi WilliamsOctober 30, 2013 - 10:30 am

    All ages welcome at my house, and I also give candy to the chaperones who hang back at the sidewalk or come to the door. EVERYONE deserves a treat on Halloween.

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  • AJOctober 30, 2013 - 10:36 am

    Thank you for this article. I have a 16 year old who is 6'6 300+lbs and is contemplating not trick or treating because ever since he was a youngster has always looked older then his age. I can see the hurt is his face because he loves Halloween and every year goes through this same thing because of what others have said to him or the awkward looks he gets or the comments when he's with his little brothers that their dad wants candy too. Noone ever said there was an age limit to trick or treating so please dont label them when they come by or ask if theyre too old because they're not as some of us adults are still young at heart even though our bodies and our age dont show it

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  • KarenOctober 30, 2013 - 11:11 am

    This is a great article! Thanks for your insight!

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  • ConnieOctober 30, 2013 - 11:15 am

    And sometimes it may be a child who grew faster than his peers and is still a child. Parents are hurt badly when their children are told they are too old when they may not even be teens.

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  • Catrina_woman (@sccvespa)October 30, 2013 - 11:38 am

    My son is 17 and last year went out trick or treating at 16. I loved this article--its so right on. This year he's going to a party at a friends house and I think he misses the door to door escapade of his younger years.

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  • NcbOctober 30, 2013 - 12:02 pm

    This story brought tears to my eyes. my 6'4" son, when asked why he didn't go in grade 9 answered "You should have seen the looks I got last year."

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  • October 30, 2013 - 12:12 pm

    Before you send your teens out trick or treating, why not make a few copies of this article and give it to them? If they encounter a rude adult who is unwilling to give treats, they can say, "That's okay - and here's something for you," then hand them the article. It might give those couple of grumpy adults something to think about for the future.

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  • dalesittonrogersOctober 30, 2013 - 12:35 pm

    I've had the impression for decades that trick-or-treaters should be no older than twelve. My brother was over six feet at that age, but at least he stopped after the age limit.

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  • Jean RousseyOctober 30, 2013 - 1:36 pm

    This is a great story, my boys were tall for their age & I'd rather have them out Trick or Treating, then getting into trouble on the streets !!!

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  • MarrkOctober 30, 2013 - 1:38 pm

    Besides... Teens stay up late and are far more likely to come back later and toilet paper your house. Why give them a reason? They're not your kids, don't try to parent them. It's just candy.

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  • LaurenOctober 30, 2013 - 1:52 pm

    I think there does come a time when they are too old, but I've also thought about sending my older kids out to do reverse trick-or-treating when they are over the age of 12. They can still get dressed up and go out in a large group, but then they can start to learn the joy of giving back to the community. I think the neighbors would love it.

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  • MiriamOctober 31, 2013 - 11:56 pm

    This is a great idea! Your neighbors will love it!

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  • Stephanie CowanOctober 30, 2013 - 2:17 pm

    Thank you for this appropriate and needed article. All of the contents are true. Almost all of the folks, even the grumpy ones, would rather have these kids trick or treating at their homes rather than making poor choices for the holiday or any other time. As a the parent of a two grown children, I know time passes too quickly for all of us. These awkward goofy things too shall pass.Patience, peace & understanding are the best choices for us all. We would all prefer to look back with fond memories.

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  • WendyOctober 30, 2013 - 2:18 pm

    My friends and I trick or treated up til our senior year of high school, and every one of us dressed up in costumes. Perhaps it was more common in our area to see teenagers do this, but nobody batted an eye. When my husband and I bought our own house 2 years ago, we were surprised most of our "visitors" were teens, but the only thing I wasn't happy about was being called "ma'am" at the age of 25. :)

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  • Michael CummingsOctober 30, 2013 - 2:25 pm

    Disagree. 15 is too old.

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  • LoisOctober 30, 2013 - 2:26 pm

    I give to everyone that comes to my door. I love Holloween. The only thing that upsets me is when the older ones grab & run & don't bother to say "Thank You" I always thank the older kids for dressing up. Thanks for the wonderful article.

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  • aleighOctober 30, 2013 - 2:58 pm

    Sorry but if you're old enough to drive you're too old to trick or treat. Everyone wants to stay young but does that mean that I keep drinking out of a baby bottle? Teach your kids the fun of giving out candy to the little kids and playing up what the kids are wearing. Its amazing to see how excited some LITTLE kids get when you get so excited about their costumes. Teach them about giving to others. Another thing that's wrong with our community and why the kids today refuse to take responsiblity...they never have to grow up!

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  • TrishaOctober 30, 2013 - 3:34 pm

    Couldn't agree with you more Aleigh!!

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  • Robert B.October 31, 2013 - 6:50 pm

    I do all that during the other 364 days.

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  • ComekaOctober 30, 2013 - 2:43 pm

    I would love to have you as my neighbor!

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  • October 30, 2013 - 3:02 pm

    I agree. I never mind older kids arriving on my doorstep for Halloween. Instead of ringing my doorbell for a few candies they could be destroying my backyard or worse. You only get to be a kid once so let it last as long as possible.

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  • TrishaOctober 30, 2013 - 3:28 pm

    I think it's ok in the country, where you know and trust the people in that kind of smaller community. The city on the other hand, I say stop when children reach an adult height or build. In the city, there's too many rotten eggs who prey on the older folks and the naive using Halloween as the perfect night to hold you at gunpoint and rob u blind with a 'Halloween mask' on. I understand that some kids are just big for their age and still want to go, but I, myself, don't even open the door to masked 5"4' or taller people after 7pm, just for the sake of mine and my families safety.

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  • MarianneOctober 30, 2013 - 3:36 pm

    You made me cry. I have two sons, 12 & 18 and they both still trick or treat and Ihave had the nicest teen boys at my door .

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  • coachincornerOctober 30, 2013 - 4:11 pm

    This was a lovely post Marion (and I don't even have teenage boys!) It just goes to show that perception is everything. You've presented another point of view that has us all reflecting on our past reactions to something that in fact is very moving.

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  • maryOctober 30, 2013 - 3:43 pm

    I don't care how old they are or how tall they are ,they can be 70 years old I don't care they all can come to my house.i remember my daughter being 11 but was a tall girl when she went out to trick or treat some lady said to her don't u think your to old to be trick or treating and she gave her nothing... yes she was hurt so I hope I get a lot of kids this year young old any age...

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  • Traditional GirlOctober 30, 2013 - 5:10 pm

    My policy has always been that anyone who takes the time to dress up gets a treat! I like to keep it positive instead of beings a "bah, humbug". Happy kids, of any age, make the world a better place. A few bucks on candy is a small price to pay.

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  • jvkOctober 30, 2013 - 5:10 pm

    Yes!! Let's welcome kids of all ages, especially the older teens. Teen years are difficult to say the least, emotionally, physically, etc. I have 2 very tall teen boys, 19 & 17. Anything to keep them "kids " just a little while longer.

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  • October 30, 2013 - 5:28 pm

    last year I asked them "what they were"...and if they could not even be creative about the answer I didnt give anything...those who "tried" go a piece of candy. I have a 16 year old...and a 14...and 12...and 10 and 4. You caused me to pause...though admittedly, I dot know how I will respond this year...most likely I will follow your advice...though for fun, I might make them promise to do something nice for some the next day...without that person knowing why...Heck, why not...

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  • MiriamNovember 01, 2013 - 12:04 am

    Oh, I like that one! What a good way to encourage creativity and thinking on their feet! These are skills they can put to good use as they are growing up!

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  • MiriamNovember 01, 2013 - 12:06 am

    I also like the idea of encouraging them to do something for others!

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  • October 30, 2013 - 5:31 pm

    Age has nothing to do with it...if you want to enjoy the holiday, then celebrate it and make an effort. If you dont want to get dressed, stay home. We give LOTS of candy to all ages....no problem!!

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  • October 30, 2013 - 5:37 pm

    What a timely article- Last year when my son was 14 he went trick-or-treating as Peter Parker. He was reluctant to go suggesting that he was too old but I could sense the wistfulness of the memory of walking with the neighborhood kids and partaking in the candy exchange afterwards. He ran ahead the other kids and darted from house to house, all 5'10" ( and looking like an 18 year old) of him. I had stayed home awaiting the hordes for hot chocolate in an hour. Imagine my surprise when my big boy came home within 30 minutes, tears in his eyes, dejected and promising that there would be no more trick or treating, no more birthdays- he was too old for it.... In a sputter of tears, frustration and humiliation the story that came out was that one of the residents came right out and told him he was too old to trick or treat. "But you were in costume!", was my reply. His- "It doesn't matter". I agree, our children grow up so fast, too fast today....let us applaud them and encourage their momentary detachment from being grown up. Let us lighten up and be thankful that the big kids who have the courage to be in touch and enjoy the magic of what's left of their childhood, may come by our house and clean out our candy bowls so that we don't have to late at night when the kids are asleep.

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  • Leron PutnamOctober 30, 2013 - 5:37 pm

    My 13 year old is 6' 5" and is too young to give up on trick or treating; I hope people understand!

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  • BlytheOctober 30, 2013 - 5:41 pm

    Thank you for writing this. It was sweet, eloquent, and timely. My 6'1" son and his tall friends will be out tomorrow. They are quite ready to grow up, and I am not quite ready for them to grow up either. Plenty of time for that later.

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  • October 30, 2013 - 7:18 pm

    I have no problem with KIDS trick or treating, but if they can't say "Trick or treat" when they come to my door, I have a problem handing them candy. Either they are all in, or they are out.

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  • November 01, 2013 - 5:27 am

    I give out candy to every kid who comes to my door but I have to agree they should be polite and I think they should say "trick or treat,". If you are too embarrassed to say it, maybe you're too old to go out. Last night very few kids over the age of about 8 or 9 even pretended to dress up. I'm not sure how I feel about 5 or 6 teenagers on my doorstep who don't say trick or treat, don't say thank you and don't pretend to dress up. I'm giving them candy because I don't want my yard rolled or pumpkins stolen. It amazes me how many people on here responded with such extremely tall kids. But it's not always enjoyable when the kids complain. I had one kid about 10 at my door last night and he yelled out, "another person who didn't give me any chocolate" and not in a good way. That ticked me off. I have had some ask for specific candy and some reach in and grab what they want. Truck or treaters have changed. Be grateful for what you get! Say thank you!

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  • LeaOctober 30, 2013 - 7:08 pm

    Loved your story; it certainly hit home at our house. My 6'3", 18 yr old son is looking forward to dressing up one last time with his friends (all are seniors) and heading out to trick-or-treat. Next year, they'll all be in college and moving on with their adult lives. Have to admit I initially thought he was too old when he mentioned this the other day, but after thinking about it, I realized this is like a final rite of passage for him and his friends. I intend to give out the biggest and best candy bars in my neighborhood tomorrow night to all the kids regardless of size or age.

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  • m&m momOctober 30, 2013 - 7:10 pm

    My daughter said it best, back when she was in 8th grade: "How can you be too old for free candy?!"

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  • October 30, 2013 - 7:24 pm

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for your article. My son is 19, 6 ft, 200 pds, and Autistic. He wants to go trick or treating every year. Last year he suggested him and his younger cousin go as an age and a banana. My son loves everything from carving the pumpkin to singing along to Ghostbusters. I always escort him while wearing my Rain Mom shirt and have been fortunate that no one has made any comments. I am right there to explain if they do. My still chooses to believe in Santa too even though we have gently explained it too him several times. One of the many messages in your article stands out to me and hopefully to your other readers-Don't judge a book by it's cover. Enjoy the gift of giving and embrace your inner child!

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  • October 30, 2013 - 7:28 pm

    Thanks for this. I've been worrying about this off and on all night. I have a sick 3 year I'll need to get in bed by a decent hour and didn't want to be disturbed. Now i may just leave the light on a bit longer and let them take a few extra pieces.

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  • LoriOctober 30, 2013 - 7:31 pm

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for your article. My son is 19, 6 ft, 200 pds, and Autistic. He wants to go trick or treating every year. Last year he suggested him and his younger cousin go as an ape and a banana. My son loves everything from carving the pumpkin to singing along to Ghostbusters. I always escort him while wearing my Rain Mom shirt and have been fortunate that no one has made any comments. I am right there to explain if they do. My son still chooses to believe in Santa too even though we have gently explained it to him several times. One of the many messages in your article stands out to me and hopefully to your other readers-Don't judge a book by it's cover. Enjoy the gift of giving and embrace your inner child!

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  • M. LongOctober 30, 2013 - 8:11 pm

    What a beautiful piece! Thank you for sharing and for giving me a new perspective. As a mom of little ones, I am learning how fast time goes. I dread the day my kids are "too big" to have fun and embrace the holiday. Now I'm looking forward to seeing those big kids on my porch!

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  • anne barrettOctober 30, 2013 - 8:19 pm

    I loved this thank you! I'm grateful that I have a house of 'late bloomers'...big kids who still get ridiculously excited about costumes and going out in the dark and the thrill that hasn't gone...and its a good reminder for those that may be critical of the older 'interlopers'

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  • October 30, 2013 - 8:49 pm

    I love this! My 13 year old is staying home and passing out candy for the first time. I can tell he isn't quite sure he doesn't want to trick or treat a little too. I think it's sweet if they're still enjoying Halloween :)

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  • October 30, 2013 - 8:57 pm

    I think there reaches an age, when you enter the teens when it's about being responsible and giving back. We have too many adults who act as children, time to grow up. Take your sweet moments with you children in different ways not by feeding them junk and acting irresponsibly.

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  • cindy looseOctober 30, 2013 - 9:00 pm

    I'll admit it---I was thrilled to be again on the trick or treat track at the age of 40, when I got to accompany my then little girl. I didn't ask for candy, but then I knew I'd get to eat hers, and I loved being out there with the excitement. As the former child of evangelical Christian parents who thought Halloween was demonic I wasn't allowed to trick or treat. But even if I had been, I think I'd still wanted to be doing it. So bring on the big kids of any age.

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  • MarshaOctober 30, 2013 - 9:09 pm

    My son was 6 foot tall at the age of 12, so we all need to remember those kids who grow up fast and are going to be extremely tall (he;s know 6'6") - even though they look big, they are really just kids!

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  • Deborah StubbsOctober 30, 2013 - 9:28 pm

    The year my son was 12 he was 6' and starting to shave. He definitely got looks when he went trick-or-treating. It's hard being the tallest and the earliest developing. He's 17 with a full beard now and looks 25 . People expect him to act like a twenty-something when he's just a senior in high school. Thanks for writing this article. You never really know how old the big kids are.

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  • GEMOctober 30, 2013 - 9:34 pm

    I loved your letter and I wish I were as brave as many of your readers but I'm 89 years old and I enjoy the t or t's. I have given out candy to many older kids when my husband was here with me but I live alone and being older I'm afraid of the older kids if I don't know them. If I had some one here with me I would be happy to give to any child big or small. With the crazy things that go on today you never know when or who you can trust. It does spoil the fun of Halloween but I must look out for my safety.

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  • MichelleOctober 31, 2013 - 9:38 am

    Are you friends with any of your neighbors? Maybe one of those big kids in your neighborhood would be happy to sit with you and pass out candy, so you can feel safe and still enjoy the holiday!

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  • ChristineNovember 01, 2013 - 4:02 am

    I was going to suggest what Michelle did. Ask a neighbor or a teen to help hand out candy for seniors that are nervous of being by themselves. I think its a fantastic idea.

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  • Shari HuffmanOctober 30, 2013 - 9:45 pm

    My kids always trick or treated until their junior or senior years of high school and no one ever seemed to have a problem with it. My youngest daughter was 6 ft. tall at 16 but she was never told that she was too old to trick or treat. I give candy to all the kids who come to our door & have yet to ever run out of candy. If I think I might my husband or I will just run out and buy some more. Kids today seem to be rushed to grow up & my philosophy is what is the rush? They'll be adults soon enough, it doesn't have anything to do with them being spoiled or irresponsible they're young, let them enjoy it. There's so many bad things that they could be doing & trick or treating isn't one of those things. All of my kids made good grades, volunteered in different areas, & were all around good kids, not perfect but then none of them are. Thank you for such a wonderful article.

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  • juliaOctober 30, 2013 - 11:13 pm

    Yes! That is my son- a hulk of a 17-year old boy, but in many ways 12 years old inside- wanting to trick or treat, having such a hard time transitioning to manhood. Also, after working in special ed, please remember that some of these huge "men" may have unseen mental challenges.

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  • JWOctober 31, 2013 - 12:00 am

    Thanks- this all makes practical sense- dealing with teenagers. However, my real dilemma comes when adults show up with brown bags, expecting candy. Sometimes in "homeless costumes," sometimes not.

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  • Kathy FitzpatrickOctober 31, 2013 - 12:34 am

    My 19 year old Son asked me "When will I feel grown up? I know legally I'm an adult, but I still feel more like a Kid." One week later he was killed by a DUI driver. He was 3 weeks shy of his 20th Birthday. That conversation was one of the first of many that flashed through my mind after being told that he'd died. And although his Trick or Treating Days were over, he still would have been out having fun with his friends. My Son, Johnny Larue 7-10-92 - 6-19-12. I miss you, Kid.

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  • CourtneyOctober 31, 2013 - 3:45 pm

    Kathy, I am so sorry about the loss of your son. God bless you.

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  • Kathy FitzpatrickNovember 01, 2013 - 10:31 am

    From the bottom of my Broken Heart, THANK YOU, COURTNEY.

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  • J. RiedelOctober 31, 2013 - 12:59 am

    Honestly, I get freaked out. How do you know these are really trick-or-treaters? I told my adolescent male students to please keep in mind that a near six-foot male in a mask is a menacing figure. I'm all for prolonging childhood, but how about hosting a party, or mom or dad standing at the foot of the walkway to the visited house, giving a reassuring wave to the wide eyed resident that all is kosher? Some sensitivity training here would be a treat indeed.

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  • ValerieOctober 31, 2013 - 3:33 am

    Brought tears to my eyes too! My 15 year old son was just discussing last night how he wanted to go but wasn't so sure. Thankfully his 16 year old cousin wants to go too! They're still kids, let them be kids!

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  • Hatice ErsanOctober 31, 2013 - 3:49 am

    I am a Mom who had children who were a varity of ages. My older boys would come to our house for visitation with there father and the ywo children who lived with us year round always enjoyed throwing together something for this holiday. At first they were all small and I pushed the stoller of my youngest around while we would go for hours begging for candy. My children were always polite and as we walked somehow I always managed to have a gang of children with me! As time went on they grew to the point of not needing me along so I managed the house always in costume! I had on many occasions had the big kids come to me, and I always made sure they got a good share. The laughter and the wow she is so cool was a great reward for me, I made their night and they made mine. Then one Halloween night only one of the oldest boys came for a visit, His older, brother now married was home with his wife and new child. My daughter went out with her friends, leaving our not so youngest at home. The two boys decided they would go inserach of candy. They thew some make shift coustumes together the eldst ran back in to the house into the kitchen and then quick as a flash he was gone! I did not think anything about it. Hours passed and the laughter from the youngest was contagious, I started to laugh. The oldest came in dumped his candy in the kitchen sink and begain to was it. Well now my motherly advise comes to play in my brain and I said to my son, honey you check the candy you dont wash it ! With that he turns to me and smiles. The youngest can't breath he is now laughing so hard. He say I took some eggs from the frig and I was going to throw them and then I changed my mind. I put them in the bag of candy and as we were walking home I got a brite idea to smack my brother in the head....I forgot the eggs were in the bag, at that point I think his brother turned blue form the lack of oxagen from laughing. It was a great night for those two, the memory still makes me smile 14 years later. My sons brother died in a car accident on his way home from his National Guard training that year. I say let them enjoy the moment lel them be kids just one more time. It maybe the last time.

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  • MiriamNovember 01, 2013 - 12:20 am

    What a good memory to have of your kids having fun. And good for him for changing his mind about the eggs!

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  • Cat LewisOctober 31, 2013 - 4:13 am

    Wonderful!!!!!!!! Whether teenagers or kids who look old (my son is 10 and over 5 ft), or the kids with disabilities we can't detect, we need to be POLITE when giving out candy. We always harp on the kids to be polite when receiving candy, but we never remind the adults to be gracious when giving it out. Either welcome everyone equally at the door, or leave your light off. It's an evening of fun, not just for the little ones.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 4:30 am

    I to was a very tall child as a girl and remember thinking people would think I was to old for this but I went with friends as well and enjoyed it I love halloween and think that everyone who wants to go should.

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  • kclaytor2October 31, 2013 - 4:54 am

    I don't get having any problems with older kids trick or treating. I would rather have them trick or treating than going to parties where there might be beer or drugs. Nowadays it's really tough for any kid under 16 to get a job, so it's not like they can afford to buy their own candy.

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  • JKOctober 31, 2013 - 5:42 am

    I'm 28 going on 29. I have a son of my own(not a teenager, obviously) and I miss going trick or treating. But I do dress up when I take him out, and we have fun going house to house getting candy and treats for him. And he's always willing to share candy with his mom, so that's nice. I think as long as you at least make an attempt to dress up and look "Halloween-y" then you should get a treat, no matter your age.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 6:21 am

    Thank you for this!

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  • pritirshahPritiOctober 31, 2013 - 6:28 am

    Beautiful article. My son is very tall for his age (right now, 6'2" and aged 14). Two years ago, when he was merely 12 and maybe 5'10", he went trick or treating with a bunch of friends (most of whom were much shorter but the same age), and at one home was not given any candy because he was too old (his friends were not denied). He came home and cried. It is impossible to tell if a tall costumed child is "too old."

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  • MichelleOctober 31, 2013 - 9:08 am

    I am so sorry your son was treated that way! Makes me want to cry for him! Please tell him that not everyone is a stingy jerk on Halloween, and if he lived in my neighborhood he'd be welcome to a big handful of candy from me!!

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  • October 31, 2013 - 7:28 am

    Each year on Halloween, I get a year older. When I was in my 30s, I decided to walk around the neighborhood asking for candy. Only a couple of people refused to give me candy asking if I was too old. Once I explained it was my birthday, most people smiled and wished me a Happy Birthday! Halloween is a fun holiday that needs to be celebrated by everyone. Because all of the rumors about what people have put in candy, most kids don't go around the neighborhood and instead go to a church or school for fun times. If the older kids didn't come around, I'd have to eat all of the candy myself. ;-D

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  • Lori AbramouskiOctober 31, 2013 - 6:41 am

    As the mom of one child who is now 21, I too have tears on my face. I agree, let the kids be kids as long as ;possible. BTW, I remember our senior class dressing up for Halloween and I stopped at a few neighbors houses that year - just to do it one more time!

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  • PamOctober 31, 2013 - 6:42 am

    Thank you - you just put a new bright shining perspective on my already Happy Halloween Day! My kids are still young - but you're right that on any other day of the year I would say I think they grow up too fast. Instead of shaking my head and holding back on the good stuff - I will celebrate the big kids who think MY house is a cool place to be on Halloween night, while they hold onto the joy of childhood for a little longer!

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  • October 31, 2013 - 6:46 am

    Thank you for this. My son just turned 12, but he is 5'9". He did not go trick or treating last night(chnged due to the expected storm), and now I wish I would have taken him. He is still a little kid, just not so little anymore!

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  • KelliOctober 31, 2013 - 6:48 am

    Thank you for this! I find time is fleeting with my four children. I'm trying to embrace each and every moment.

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  • Constance FreundtOctober 31, 2013 - 6:49 am

    Thank you for this article! I didn't get it before, but now I do! Last night, I told my 15 year old daughter that she could not go trick or treating in her partial Halloween costume. I'm changing my mind and can't wait to tell her when she gets home from school. Thanks again!

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  • janetOctober 31, 2013 - 6:50 am

    My son is 13 and is 5' 11" and wants to go out tonite, but is a worrier and thinks people will mistake for older as they often do!!

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  • WendyOctober 31, 2013 - 7:16 am

    Great article. Thanks for the insight. I have 2 toddler boys. Made me a little sad to think of them that old. Once again I'm hearing the good advice to enjoy them at every stage, to relax and have fun.

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  • Amanda MoyerOctober 31, 2013 - 7:22 am

    Thank you so much for this it brought tears to my eyes as my 2 high schoolers and a bunch of friends will be escorting their younger sister and her 2 friends. My son was told years ago at 14 he was too "old" to betrick or treating even though he was with his sisters one of whom is older.

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  • wryviewOctober 31, 2013 - 7:28 am

    I must be teh only one here with a different opinion. My town has age restrictions on trick-or-treat. So, by allowing your too-old teen to go out, you are saying it's okay to break the law. Second, we get hundreds of kids. I only buy so much candy. So, if too-old teens come around & I give them candy, then some little kids is NOT going to get candy later. Is that fair?

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  • October 31, 2013 - 6:32 pm

    I say give the candy you have to the children as they come, when you run out turn off the outside lights. Never turn a child away for any reason other than you don't have anymore candy. And, that's a terrible law.

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  • MiriamNovember 01, 2013 - 12:29 am

    Your town needs to loosen up & have fun. I say if you have a costume, have some candy! I like to offer some to the parents, too. The little kids always come earlier at my house, so it's not like the older ones are taking it away from the younger ones.

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  • WickedCatsOctober 31, 2013 - 7:28 am

    I wouldn't mind if they actually made the effort and got dressed up. But I have a huge issue with older kids knocking on my door dressed in their school clothes and holding out a pillow case for me to put candy in.

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  • MiriamNovember 01, 2013 - 12:34 am

    Make them sing, or tell a clean joke, or do a "stupid human" trick (like wiggle their nose) before giving them candy. You both will feel better about the exchange.

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  • MiriamNovember 01, 2013 - 12:37 am

    Wait! Nose is too easy--I meant to say "wiggle their ears". But any silly little trick or poem. You get the idea.

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  • TammyOctober 31, 2013 - 7:58 am

    Thank you for the story. I remember when I took my daughter to trick or treating one year when she was 10 dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, now she's 14 and always been a tall kid. We got to this one house and a man ask her how old are you, aren't you too old for this? After that she ask to go home and never go trick or treating again :( now she just pass out candy.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 7:58 am

    I'm happy to give out candy to anyone who dresses up, at any age... even if it's a half-assed attempt. But no costume, no candy.

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  • SandyOctober 31, 2013 - 7:58 am

    I saw two "older" kids without costumes hit a house last Hallowe'en. The guy at the door told them they'd have to sing a song...they did a quick, ad lib rap piece with sound f/x and everything...they were amazing! The whole neighbourhood watched/listened and applauded when they were done.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 9:10 am

    I have felt uncomfortable with the high schoolers with no costumes trick or treating at my house. However, at age 60, I still remember my humiliation the last time I went trick-or treating. I was about 12 and average height for my age. An older teenage boy answered the door at one house and said in a somewhat disgusted voice, "Aren't you a little old?" Be kind. You may not realize the effect your words have on someone.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 8:41 am

    Kids grow up soon enough. If all it takes is a little candy to make these teens have a better day, so be it! Loved this article!

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  • MichelleOctober 31, 2013 - 8:55 am

    I remember a Halloween just like this my senior year of high school. 17 years old and on the verge of adulthood, we just wanted to have one last night of childish fun. Not hurting anyone. Luckily, all of our neighbors smiled and gave us candy and wished us a Happy Halloween. Three years later I got to go trick-or-treating with my toddler-aged step-children for the first time. :) Now those babies are 14 and 15, and they still love trick-or-treating. And they're sweet enough to stick with their younger siblings and me for a little while, before I take the babies home and the big kids go off on their own. ;)

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  • meghanOctober 31, 2013 - 8:58 am

    I'm 20 years old and I still trick or treat, I'm a girl, and always wear a full on costume.. I have a daughter now so I guess I also have more of an excuse too

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  • LisaAnnOctober 31, 2013 - 8:58 am

    I will never forget the moment I was told I was too old. I was in seventh grade--and already 5'8". My friends (mostly between 5'0" and 5'4"), were all given candy without a second thought, but the adult stalled over my lanky limbs and said something disrespectful about my size and age. It was absolutely heartbreaking--and it was also the last house where I ever trick-or-treated. Such a sad ending to that holiday for me; I would never wish that on anyone.

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  • Amber MorriganOctober 31, 2013 - 9:05 am

    My mother wasn't fond of trick or treating, so every year we held our breath hoping that my father would not be on night shift that week so that we could trick or treat. I still remember at twelve - the first year I was allowed to go with friends - the old lady that told me I was too old. I had already reached my full height of 5'7" and was decently developed for a twelve year old at the time. From then on I dressed up and escorted my younger siblings every year.

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  • JackieOctober 31, 2013 - 9:24 am

    My son, now 27, went trick or treating until he was about 19. He and his buddies, both guys and girls, would go out for an hour or so AFTER they finished up with the free-of charge neighborhood haunted house they did every year in one of the guys front yards The regular treat or treaters got their goods at the end of the trip through the haunted house. It amused a lot of the neighbors because they had seen the now trick or treaters at the haunted house. Even now, he is big on making a very special costume each year, but the haunted house is no more. As adults, they now have their own big costume party. Because some of the once kids are now having kids of their own, I foresee a return of the haunted house someday for their own new generation of goblins.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 9:31 am

    I still remember the hallowee I was told I was too old & had to stay home & hand out candy. I was maybe 12. I always enjoyed dressing up but was made to feel self-conscience. : /. Now I get to indulge my own kiddos!

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  • October 31, 2013 - 9:34 am

    Marion, I have no sons...only 2 daughters and they stopped going out at around 12....so Thank you for opening my eyes. I never really looked at the boys this way...but I will be glad to fill their bags with goodies... Thanks Again.... Bess

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  • tobeyOctober 31, 2013 - 9:58 am

    I live in a small town, we always get quite a lot of older kids, some in costume, some not, as you describe....generally we just hand the kids their treat, or put it in their bags, but when I get the older kids, i show them their choices and almost always my big kids at the door choose bubbles or play doh....interesting, because in the past I would just hand them a microwave popcorn due to their size....so I think for a lot of them it is more about trying to slow down time than it is about scoring a bunch of treats (though that just sweetens the pot!) I used to get upset with all those teens, but the longer i have lived here, the older I get, the more i get it......and wish I had been given that opportunity for just one more time....to relive the thrill of freedom going door to door collecting treats, seeing friends and neighbors and pretending to be someone else for a few hours.....

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  • FuzzyOctober 31, 2013 - 10:11 am

    I hate when parents come up and collect candy for their newborn or sick child at home.......why are they not at home with their sick child and how does a new born eat candy.

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  • C. MitchellOctober 31, 2013 - 10:13 am

    Ok I love you... thanks for writing such a "real" perspective. My son is 16, 5'10", and he's still all giddy about going out trick-or-treating tonight. I certainly hope he's not scowled or frowned at... it's all in good fun, though I do like your recommendation to have some full-sized bars for the big'uns. :) Thanks again!

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  • RKMWOctober 31, 2013 - 10:32 am

    Absolutely! As the parent of a daughter who hit puberty early and was hearing (at age 11) that she was "too old" for Trick or Treating, I'm fairly tolerant of those, usually late in the evening, visitors who are simply trying to recapture the innocent pleasures of childhood.

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  • MaureenOctober 31, 2013 - 11:28 am

    Sorry to burst your collective bubbles. At my house, I get more "large" people than small. They don't dress up, they don't talk, except for body language which tells me damage will get done if I don't give them something. I live in a very good neighborhood the rest of the year, but I have grown to hate Halloween because of this. Criticize me all you want, but I'm the one spending the money ad living it every year.

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  • Anjanette PepperOctober 31, 2013 - 11:10 am

    I agree. Growing up is hard on everyone. Encourage childhood.

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  • Todd SiechenOctober 31, 2013 - 11:22 am

    Sure its nice when the teens are well mannered and know right from wrong and I dont think they are too old for ToTing, but we the recipients of those teens may not know them and certainly must be on our guard as we all know there are teens who would put you in danger if you don't hand over the candy. Of course that's rare, but we still must be vigilant to keep ourselves and our families safe.

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  • teresaOctober 31, 2013 - 11:32 am

    Great essay! Our 13 year old group is going solo this year without parents, and they range from 4'10 to 5'10. I don't mind what age they are if they are in costume, smile, say trick or treat and thank you! I don't like the sullen-shove a bag in my face routine!

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  • JennOctober 31, 2013 - 12:14 pm

    My issue with teens trick-or-treating is that we never know how many trick-or-treaters we will have from year to year. A group of ten or so teens will come to the house and I will give them a load of candy. Then I've run out for the group of preschoolers that come along fifteen minutes later. We've had some special needs teens come trick-or-treating with siblings and that's fine with me.

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  • MiriamNovember 01, 2013 - 12:54 am

    I only give one candy per person, regardless of age. (You can keep them from grabbing more candy by saying "Pick one" or "Which one do you want?" or simply dropping the treat in their bag instead of holding out a bowl.)

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  • AnonOctober 31, 2013 - 11:42 am

    Love this, it's so true! The only thing I don't like is rude teenagers who push the little ones out of the way!! Parents, TALK to your kid before sending them out there and remind them to mind their manners.

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  • Patty Hasenyager PassmoreOctober 31, 2013 - 12:11 pm

    thank you for this article! It is wonderful and I do agree. Trick or treating is innocent and big boys like candy too.

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  • Jane WightOctober 31, 2013 - 12:19 pm

    I think this is wonderful. Thank you for writing this. You are never too young or too old for some things. My mother fixed Easter baskets for my brother and I until we left home and she fixes a small one for my father every year. They are 86. I am sure she will have a little treat bag fixed with sugar-free candy tonight. We took our twins when they were infants because we were so proud and they looked so cute.

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  • Jen S.October 31, 2013 - 12:20 pm

    As a mom who has one child in college and the rest quickly gaining on her in hight, thank you so much. I really appreciate this, even if it has left me in tears thinking about how big my kids are getting. I was a little leary about them going out tonight but now I will feel no remorse whatsoever.

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  • Elaine R.October 31, 2013 - 12:35 pm

    I totally agree. I figure if they STILL want to show up on my doorstep "trick or treating", then why not let them have that one more innocent experience of childhood? They will know when it is truly time to stop.

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  • Karen in WAOctober 31, 2013 - 12:47 pm

    As long as they are polite, I don't mind older kids. But I expect everybody who comes to my door to do something for the treat, usually it is a riddle, sometimes a song or something in character, and I always have small toys (or fun eraser) for kids who are diabetic or sugar sensitive.

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  • MiriamNovember 01, 2013 - 12:59 am

    My brother-in-law makes them sing or tell a clean joke. I love the idea of answering a riddle or doing something in character! What a great idea to have something for the sugar-free kids!

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  • heidiOctober 31, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    I really enjoyed this article and felt inspired by it. It's a lovely read.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 12:59 pm

    I have a middle school counselor friend who makes the older kids "work" for their candy by doing something -- singing YMCA, playing leap frog, making animal sounds... they are giggling, we are laughing, parents/ neighbors laugh... the more creative, the more candy they get... and they leave with a smile! It makes it a lot more enjoyable for all involved.

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  • SusanOctober 31, 2013 - 1:11 pm

    Thank you for reminding us! I remember my kids feeling very disappointed when they became too old to Trick or Treat!

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  • October 31, 2013 - 1:19 pm

    They don't want to grow up either

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  • October 31, 2013 - 1:46 pm

    For years I welcomed the teen trick or treaters because I agree with you that they need to have fun a bit longer. I also loved seeing them grow up over the years and Halloween was often the only time I'd see them. My house always welcomed the 6ft trick or treaters. The home I now occupy doesn't align with the Halloween traffic and I miss it. From toddlers to teens, Halloween still belongs to them and I hope others readily hand out candy to the big kids. Thanks for your well written article.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 1:49 pm

    This actually made me tear up as I read it. I DO have a 15 year old boy! I also have a 14 year old boy! I totally get this article, and hope that my boys get the nerve up with all of their friends tonight, at the last minute just like this! I love them so much and wish that the times like holding their little hands as they try their best to pronounce trick or treat correctly, could last so much longer. I have to admit at how lucky and blessed I am to have experienced that with them, as well as being able to still partake on the trick or treating with our third baby boy who is two!!! I have patience for kids, and I hope to see a few groups of these fearless young men!

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  • Scentsy KatieOctober 31, 2013 - 1:50 pm

    I have a child who is in the same age range and we have been debating whether she was too old to go trick or treating tonight. Her older stature is telling herself no, but her kid at heart is telling her yes. After reading this, I think we are going to listen to her kid at heart. Thanks for posting.

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  • KarenOctober 31, 2013 - 1:54 pm

    It is hard growing up watching all the kids have all the fun...my son is a senior in high school and if he was not at football practice or rehearsal for the school play coming up, he too, would be out trick or treating as Shaggy today..rooby roo!! I welcome all sizes!!

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  • October 31, 2013 - 2:14 pm

    LOVE this!

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  • October 31, 2013 - 2:16 pm

    Thank you. I will be in a much more positive frame of mind when those "big" boys come round for candy. It is hard to grow up. And who really needs to leave the fun times behind? The world is a better place when we can still enjoy having fun.

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  • sheilaOctober 31, 2013 - 2:34 pm

    Love it...when you are in your 40's you will say... I wish I could go trick or treating, its so much fun

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  • Jesse C.October 31, 2013 - 2:55 pm

    There are no age limits for trick or treating. Those that think Halloween is all about kids have got it all wrong. Just remember people..."Trick-or Treat" is not a greeting, it is an ultimatum. For one night of the year, we allow visitors to threaten us for sweets. It isn't a conversation. It's one or the other, cake or death, trick or treat. You have only one option if you don't wanna participate - turning off your porch light. That is the one rule goblins and ghouls respect. Happy Halloween!!

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  • MaryOctober 31, 2013 - 3:02 pm

    I do understand the sentiment of this post, I raised 2 boys. however--our town has an age 13 limit on door -to-door trick or treat. There are many other activities planned by churches & other organizations for teens. There are no children in our neighborhood. When there were, we participated. Now I don't. However, there is an element in this town where older teenagers will drive all over town & attempt to "trick or treat". Personally I wish we would find a different alternative

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  • October 31, 2013 - 3:17 pm

    The last year I trick or treated, I was in grade school. After leaving one house, I heard the woman say to her husband, 'That's a grown woman under that costume!' I couldn't help it that I'd grown within an inch of my adult height at the time. But I was annoyed when a group of adults came trick or treating at my house, without kids, and one woman cheerily said, 'I'm 33 years old, and I still love to trick or treat!' Fine, dress up if you like...but don't expect other adults to fund your Halloween party. It's supposed to be for kids, not for adults who aren't willing to buy candy, either for themselves to eat, or to give out to other people's kids.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 3:43 pm

    We made the tough decision a couple years ago to not have our son go trick or treating anymore. I was concerned that folks would make unkind comments, as our son was quickly approaching his nearly 6 foot height. He is also Autistic & doesn't understand why he can no longer have fun trick or treating with his cousins (we've since tried to make the night special by going out to dinner instead). So just a thing to think about: if you do see the taller or older kids, there may be another reason they're there rather than what originally seemed a ploy for candy.

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  • KarenOctober 31, 2013 - 4:00 pm

    Thank you. Happy Halloween to you and yours.

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  • KatieOctober 31, 2013 - 4:40 pm

    "Then again, some things don’t make sense until you’ve lived them with your own child– and not a moment sooner." Only for a person who either lacks empathy or is simply too lazy to think about other people. I have no children, yet have always been capable in seeing the value of trick-or-treating for teenagers. It's not that hard. They're kids, dressing up is fun, candy if great, even better when it's free! Plus, teens are typically more able to appreciate the free aspect than little kids.

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  • DebNovember 03, 2013 - 5:47 am

    I loved the article. My oldest grandaughter is 19, going to college, working and loves halloween. There isnt any money for treats like candy and she takes her "little brother" with her. Coming from a single parent home this is one time they get to have a good time, it doesnt cost them anything and I know they are polite because I am with the younger grandchildren and can hear the trick or treats and the thank you's. I don't think there should be an age restriction. If you dont want to play then turn your light off. Have lots of fun folks on all your holidays with all the big and little kids in your life.

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  • harryOctober 31, 2013 - 4:41 pm

    I want my obituary to include the phrases " Gave candy to trick or treaters of all ages"

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  • leslieshollyOctober 31, 2013 - 4:52 pm

    This really is one of the most touching stories I've ever read about the pain involved in leaving childhood behind. I still remember how it hurt my feelings to be told by my father when I was thirteen that I was too old to go trick or treating.

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  • DeirdreOctober 31, 2013 - 5:18 pm

    Really, really love this. I just got home to read this ... after being out with my eight year old ... and knowing my 14 and 16 year old teenagers were out there with there friends trick-o-treating. Such a bitter sweet time - watching my teens juggle their tender, child sides - while navigating being "mature" and grown up. My daughter even looked at me last night and said, "mom - tomorrow might be the last time I trick-o-treat as a kid." I was *wrecked* when she said that! You're last line there? "Let them pretend it just isn't so?" Let the PARENTS pretend it just isn't so! :-) Great piece. Perfect timing for me tonight. Thanks!

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  • DavidOctober 31, 2013 - 5:34 pm

    This article and it's comments are all BS. If a 15 year old shows up at my door half in costume I'll send him or her on thier way. Some state have made it illeagel for anyone over 12 to trick or treat.

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  • LoriOctober 31, 2013 - 6:01 pm

    My nephew it 6'1 and a freshman in HS. He is on the autism spectrum and loves Halloween:) He dressed up as the Jolly Green Giant this year and went trick or treating. (Just a reminder that things are not always what they seem.)

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  • October 31, 2013 - 6:17 pm

    Thank you--My son just turned 16 I totally understand your comments..and they brought a tear to my eye

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  • October 31, 2013 - 6:26 pm

    I give candy to all but have put an entertaining twist on it...nursery rhymes and songs are a must...9 times out of 10 they have just as much fun with it as i do....nothing more entertaining than a group of boys doing "I'm a little teapot" even the neighbors had a good laugh and are doing it this year :)

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  • shoeshopyogaOctober 31, 2013 - 6:54 pm

    Thank you! My 6'3", almost-16-year-old decided last-minute, after having declared he wasn't doing anything this year, to buy a costume and meet up with some friends tonight. At first I was uncomfortable, for all the reasons you mention, but am a little less so after reading this. Santa Monica will be packed tonight and I am glad he will be out and about, enjoying what may truly be his last year of Halloween revelry as a trick-or-treater.

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  • JadeOctober 31, 2013 - 7:09 pm

    Tonight as I was handing out candy, I had a large group of older boys come by, all wearing guy fawkes masks. They ended up being the most polite group I had all night. Not only did they thank me as I handed out the candy, but they thanked me again as they rounded back.

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  • DOctober 31, 2013 - 7:14 pm

    I think trick or treating at that age is ridiculous. Really. When I was younger - cut off was 5th grade. We never saw older kids and none of us kids ever wanted to go past 5th grade. After elementary school we went to Halloween parties parents threw or watched scary movies we didn't trick or treat.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 7:19 pm

    Best costume of the night: Two kids about 12 years old come to my door wearing suits with IRS name tags. They told me I was being audited for my candy.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 7:36 pm

    Tonight my 14 year old who is 6ft2 decided to trick or treat. He hasnt gone out for the last eight years because of sensory issues. I was so proud of him. Kidz are kids and if they are brave enough to do it more power to them!

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  • BethOctober 31, 2013 - 7:38 pm

    I absolutely love this. My son is 14, all of his friends are 13 or 14. They are all taller than me and I'm 5'6". They all go out in a "pack" and have a great time doing it. I always tell the teens to come back by a little after 8pm and give them what's left of my candy. Why should a child be discouraged from being a child? Thank you for enlightening people out there. Luckily our small town would rather see them out there having fun!

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  • Amy ROctober 31, 2013 - 7:50 pm

    I absolutely loved this! I've struggled with my emotions all day as my 12 and 14-year old sons have waited until the last minute to decide whether to dress up and whether to go out. As I admire the cute little ones who toddle up to my door for candy, I am reminded of how recently it seems my own 6 foot son was portable and biddable. I am happier every year to welcome teens to my door as I realize they too struggle with the transition from child to adult. Thank you for the perspective!

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  • JackOctober 31, 2013 - 8:04 pm

    And when a group of 18 and 19 year olds show up, resist the urge to remember that other kids their age are coming home in body bags in service of their country while you dump 'the big bars' of candy into their classmates' pillow case.

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  • Moonflwr912October 31, 2013 - 8:08 pm

    My 4 children had reached their full heights by the time they were 11. Shortest at 11 was 5'11", tallest was 6'2". Yeah kids still. I give treats to anyone who comes. Better than the big kids stealing the bags of the smaller kids. I toss candy bars to the big brother or big sisters walking with the trick or treaters. I love Halloween! Let kids be kids and let adults act like kids if they want. BTW, I dress up to hand out treats and can do a mighty keen witch cackle!

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  • LisaOctober 31, 2013 - 8:11 pm

    I love this. What a great perspective! Thank you!

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  • October 31, 2013 - 8:15 pm

    I love this! My best Guy friend and I used to go out for trick or treating when we were about 17. He was 6ft tall and my mom made him a costume using one of our white sheets and cut eyes for him. We are now in our 50's and have recently reconnected and we have reminisced about this time. Let these kids have these memories to share for themselves later in life!!!

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  • LaraOctober 31, 2013 - 8:41 pm

    Agreed! I kept up trick-or-treating till I left America. When I started to feel too old to do it for myself, I'd just dress up and offer to take around my younger brothers, then kids I babysat for, then eventually my friends kids. Parents always welcome a hour off, and I LOVE trick-or-treating. Although, I have the opposite problem, at 29 I look 20 at most, and if I worked the right Halloween costume, I could pull off 12 or 13.

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  • Naomi WilliamsOctober 31, 2013 - 9:12 pm

    Had about 50 kids tonight, maybe a quarter of them older teens. (Who can tell?) Not an impolite one in the bunch; I guess they can sense that I'm not giving it to them grudgingly.

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  • TheaOctober 31, 2013 - 9:53 pm

    I disagree! We made the handouts for the little kids this year, and to have some group of teenagers come and grab them all, is just so rude! Some of them weren't even dressed up. If you don't put work or thought into your Halloween costume, you shouldn't go trick or treating. Nostalgia is one, but teaching your kids manners is another. Why not involve them all into decorating the yard up? Our neighbor's kids who are older do that, they spent a month making a crosses and a graveyard out of scrap wood. Now that is putting your teenagers to work in a good way. Teach them to be respectful towards little kids, not elbow them out of the way to grab some free candy.

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  • ScottOctober 31, 2013 - 10:27 pm

    My last bona fide trick-or-treat experience was probably my best. I was attending a small bible school and we had a fair number of international students. A couple of us decided to kill two birds with one stone...give our international friends a "cultural" experience on Halloween, and score some free candy to boot. So we dressed up as best we could, and all of us--young adults in our early 20s--went door-to-door in one of the wealthiest areas in Orange County. A number of people would ask us (usually in a good-natured way), if we didn't think we were a little old to be out trick-or-treating, but we'd smile and say "Yeah, we know, but we just wanted to share Halloween with our international friends." This would be accompanied by several disarming and heavily-accented attempts at "Trick or treat." To say we cleaned up is a gross understatement.

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  • October 31, 2013 - 11:24 pm

    Isn't it nicer that they are out getting candy instead of being those who cause trouble. And don't forget the special needs children too.

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  • MiriamOctober 31, 2013 - 11:51 pm

    I've always felt that we should let them sneak in another year or two of being a kid. My brother-in-law went out with friends as a teen, and since they knew they were really too old, they sang a song when the door was opened. One of the friends made up a silly rhyme about Halloween to sing. Now, he welcomes older kids and teens, but demands a song or a clean joke in exchange for candy. He had about 30 this year and they all preformed. Everyone ends up having fun & the kids don't have to feel sheepish about getting the candy. This year, they must have passed the word around (guess it's the social media age) and some kids came prepared with jokes. My sister said they had some pretty good laughs. A friend said that he and his brothers went out together as teens, and they would perform any kind of entertainment that they could think of that took 10 seconds or less.

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  • KathyNovember 01, 2013 - 3:02 am

    posted pictures of the awesome group of 17 year old boys and my son who went trick or treating with my husband and I trailing along behind. Yes it was embarrassing to me but then I thought - really my 17 year old and his friends allow me and my husband and his 14 year old sister to walk cautiously from a distance and enjoy their fun - and most if not all of my neighbors had BIG treats for my BIG boy

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  • the wizNovember 01, 2013 - 3:09 am

    Show up at my house without a costume and you'll get a can of tuna fish and a box of spaghetti. Then next year you should be smarter, and maybe have more imagination than a plate full of noodles. And parents always get a treat for taking the time to go out with children no matter what their age.

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  • lifewithkaishonNovember 01, 2013 - 3:34 am

    I love this so much. Thanks for writing. : )

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  • PeggyNovember 01, 2013 - 4:40 am

    I really enjoyed the story and like many others, it brought tears to my eyes. My 12 year old is 5'7" and gets many looks. It did, however, please me last night to hear that she'd like to continue doing this. Maybe it will help keep them kids for a while longer.

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  • gNovember 01, 2013 - 5:30 am

    Interesting article. My kids are still young enough (and young-looking enough) to have no problem with trick-or-treating. After reading accounts of others' heart-broken children, I am trying to think of a way to approach that. If my children want to trick-or-treat when they're older and they face criticism from some folks, I will encourage them to respond by kindly offering a piece of their own candy as a peace offering.

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  • Ang McLaughlinNovember 01, 2013 - 7:33 am

    Thank you for this! I really needed to read this, as I have been trying to discourage my 13 & 14 year old from trick or treating. They work hard at their costume ideas, and sometimes people have no clue what they are, but they enjoy it. And you are right, time goes way too fast! Thank you for this much needed reminder, as I asked everyone last night how old was too old!

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  • MelissaNovember 01, 2013 - 7:39 am

    I read this yesterday and thought it was sweet. That is until I had one too many bad experiences with poor mannered teenagers. Parents have a responsibility to make sure that their teenagers behave appropriately when trick-or-treating. That includes not cutting across lawns (especially when they are blocked off), saying please and thank you, not doing rude things like ask for "selfies" instead of cameras and taking photos of my house without my permission, and general niceties that they should know by now.

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  • NancyNovember 01, 2013 - 7:42 am

    I agree. It's all about the manners!hope all the children out there last night had fun!

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  • NancyNovember 01, 2013 - 8:36 am

    Thanks for your insight to the age factor. I have 5 kids, from 11 to 15 years old. Last year one of the 13 year old twins was reprimanded while her twin was given extra candy. Neither was too happy, but they laughed it off and moved on. This year as 14 year olds, everything went ok. Nobody was left out from receiving candy, but perhaps they know, it will be their last turn at Trick or Treating.

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  • November 01, 2013 - 8:57 am

    My first home was in an economic disaster zone. The friend I shared the house with wanted to withhold candy from kids who didn't dress up. My heart broke. I made him understand to penalize a child because his/her parents were unwilling or unable to provide a costume is cruel. Halloween is one of those occasions when the gift is in the giving, and the seeing the joy it brings to the recipient not the other way around. I saw 96 children last night. I knew 3 of them. Who cares who eats the candy so long as its not me!

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  • KBNovember 01, 2013 - 9:04 am

    Well it is upsetting when a hoard of teens practically mows down my preschoolers on the way up to the door.

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  • Barbara Fischlowitz-LeongNovember 01, 2013 - 9:08 am

    Crying on Nov 1 Time passed and time passing are difficult for all of us who live in the now.

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  • Sheri Repp LoadsmanNovember 01, 2013 - 9:43 am

    Our kids grow up too quickly. I love the idea of our kids going from neighbor to neighbor on Halloween regardless of their age. There is an old fashioned sense of community seeing lots of kids and adults giving and receiving treats. This year several neighbors set up a haunted house which made the night fun for all ages. Almost every kid I saw last night was respectful and happy. What more could we ask for?

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  • RebeccaNovember 01, 2013 - 10:10 am

    Thanks for the article. My 13 year old son who is 6'2" was not going to go trick or treating and I was so disappointed. I didn't want his years of trick or treating to end. Thankfully a couple of friends asked him to come over and go trick or treating this year. They had dinner together and then went out with masks on. They are teenagers, but still kids having fun! I hope he continues to go out for many years and have fun with his friends.

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  • Glenda RossNovember 01, 2013 - 11:06 am

    Thanks for speaking up. I get weary listening to people grump about big kids and kids from other neighborhoods coming for Trick or Treats. Enjoy the creativity and the fun! I would rather share every last piece of candy than have it still around the next day to add to my waistline. The more the merrier.

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  • TCNovember 01, 2013 - 11:50 am

    My 12 year old son is 6 feet so whenever he is with his friends he stands out. Last year he went trick or treating with a couple of friends who were actually older but shorter than him. He came home upset because at a few of the houses the adult gave candy to the smaller boys, but not him, and actually told him they thought he was too old to be trick or treating...he was only 11 and the other boys were 15.

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  • Pat HumphreysNovember 01, 2013 - 12:01 pm

    For the past two years my oldest (and tall) grandson and his friends dressed up for Halloween, knocked on doors and handed the surprised homeowners candy! One year they carried a light weight door still in its frame (bought from a thrift store) with a sign painted on it saying "knock here" up to doors, and when the puzzled homeowners did so, the door opened and the kids gave them a candy cane. On Halloween they now have more fun "turning the tables" than ever before when they were on the receiving end of trick or treating!

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  • RonnaNovember 01, 2013 - 12:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing! My son and 2 of his friends (all 18years old) went out last night trick or treating :) They were reluctant at first because they didn't want an ill response. Instead they received a warm welcome, candy and some people impressed with their masks! It was such a great feeling to know that adults do understand there are great teenagers out there who want to enjoy innocent fun. They were respectful and used their manners to all adults and children out and about. All they needed were a few houses to feel like a kid again :)

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  • November 01, 2013 - 2:30 pm

    Excellent. Thank you for writing this. Appreciate the perspective.

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  • SamdogNovember 01, 2013 - 3:51 pm

    I, too, am the mother of boys. They are now too old to go Trick or Treating but I remember when they would go, in packs as big boys. I thought then, and try to remember now, that if the big boys are somewhere out collecting candy, they are not out getting in to trouble.

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  • November 01, 2013 - 4:05 pm

    I am the mother of a 6'4 16 year old. People forget that these big kids are still just kids.

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  • Melissa AcostaNovember 01, 2013 - 4:44 pm

    I have a teenager. This year (like every year before this one) she chose to have a friend over and trick or treat with the younger kids. Turns out that there was a raging party that they were both invited to, one that they knew would have alcohol and possibly more. They chose the candy! Makes this momma proud.

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  • Connie HaackNovember 01, 2013 - 4:47 pm

    Thank you! These are my sentiments exactly and I repeat them year after year. Give the kid a piece of candy for heavens sake. At least they aren't out causing trouble. Let them be kids instead of rushing them to grow up too quickly. One woman on facebook said she was giving out condoms to the tall trick or treaters. I was so disgusted and let her know that teenager like candy. What is the big deal.

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  • Funky Junk InteriorsNovember 01, 2013 - 4:50 pm

    What a lovely post! I wouldn't change even one word. Thank-you!

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  • CydNovember 01, 2013 - 5:28 pm

    The last time I went trick-or-treating, I was well into college (I'm 40 now). I'm also 5'4" on a good day and have a babyface, so i could get away with it, but I dressed up in medieval costume and went around having fun! It wasn't about the candy, it was about running around to people's doorsteps and having them ooh and aah over your costume! :) I don't really give out candy, I tend to give out glowsticks and small toys (and sometimes chips or fruit snacks), but the ones who come to my house seem to love it, because it's not about candy, it's about running around having a good time! Last year, my daughter was a little over a year old. I took her out to a grand total of three houses, my immediate neighbors, just to say hi (and no candy necessary). this year I took her to about six houses total, and everybody loved her costume... And both times, I dressed up too! :) I did have a couple of people ask if mommy would like candy too, but I wasn't in it for the candy, it's just fun! My husband decorates the house and plays spooky music from speakers in the bushes and has a great time, he takes off early from work to do it! if a kid looks like they're there to have fun, i don't mind at all! I get a little annoyed when they're wearing *no* costume and don't say thank you, but it's so fun to see the different outfits, creative and scary! :)

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  • November 01, 2013 - 7:17 pm

    I would think its better to have them out trick or treating with their friends, than getting into trouble vandalizing property. Let them enjoy being kids for as long as possible!

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  • H.B.November 01, 2013 - 7:30 pm

    I think we have forced childhood out of our children. There is nothing wrong with wonder and fun and honestly, I still dress up with my own two teens because i know those days are quick coming when I won't have those times anymore. Cherish youth! Let them have fun, I swear they will be healthier, happier adults if we do.

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  • JennNovember 01, 2013 - 9:14 pm

    I love this!! I know I will be in the same boat with my son in a few years (he's huge! Soooo tall for 8). But while he's little, we always make a basket to leave outside while we go trick or treat. Kids are pushed to be adults in so many areas, let them stay "little" as long as they can! Besides would you rather these kids play "tricks" all night? I for one would rather not clean up eggs or toilet paper.

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  • cNovember 02, 2013 - 12:50 pm

    I really don't want overgrown, under-costumed "children" coming to my door begging for the treats that I purchased for actual children. It's the same as sitting in Santa's lap as a 15 year old boy. Halloween trick-or-treating and posing on Santa's lap for pictures and Easter egg hunting and the tooth fairy are meant for children, not for almost adults. 15 year olds had their opportunity to do all of these things at the age appropriate time. It's time for them to move on to something more adult and let the little children have their time. Stop ruining it for the little ones. My husband and I don't even stay home and pass out candy any longer because of the mobs of 6 foot children that knock on our door. We turn out the lights and go out and have adult fun. We miss enjoying seeing the innocent, wide-eyed little ones all dressed up as princesses and astronauts and thinking the world is a magical place. Teenagers, go do teenage things and put away the children's games. It's time.

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  • Naomi WilliamsNovember 02, 2013 - 1:29 pm

    Who says that trick or treating is "meant" for little kids, and how is making the activity more inclusive "ruining it" for the little ones? (Many of them WANT to be accompanied by their older siblings with their friends.) And who says that 15 year olds have all had the opportunity to do it while younger? Between moving and/or parents getting divorced, many have NOT had the opportunity. That is such a mean-spirited attitude to have. Every one is brain-washed into saying happy holidays during December, but look at Halloween as an opportunity to start spreading good cheer a month earlier. You can make a person HAPPY for a dime. What a great deal! Also, so many of you seem to equate being older with being rude. Generalizing a bit, don't you think? The little kids don't always say their please and thank-yous either, but you don't notice it as much just because they're so darned cute.

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  • JennNovember 02, 2013 - 2:45 pm

    Wow.. Rude much C? I bet you're the Grinch at Christmas that thinks 15+yr old kids don't need more than 1 gift & no stocking. Where I live it's not unusual for even 17yr olds to be trick or treating. With a sibling, with a buddy or even just doing a Candy scavenger hunt. I grew up seeing 15yr olds driving golf carts full of preteens & teens house to house looking for the candy on their list & giving the rest to any child that was near them. The only thing you're right about is that the tooth fairy IS for young kids as that's when you loose your baby teeth. And what's wrong with a 15yr old boy wanting a picture with Santa?! Are you backwards enough to think it would be ok if it were a 15yr old girl?? I see every year even 17-18yr olds, boys & girls, getting a picture with Santa or the Easter Bunny but they're not sitting on anyone's lap. If you don't want to pass out candy, then fine, don't. But stop using teens as your excuse not to celebrate when really you just don't want to.

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  • Naomi WilliamsNovember 02, 2013 - 2:53 pm

    Jenn, I know a woman who takes her kids' pictures with Santa every year: The kid's are now in their 30s! They actually look around to find a Santa who's willing (and able) to let them sit in his lap!

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  • JennNovember 02, 2013 - 9:21 pm

    Lol! That's great Naomi!

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  • Michelle Lee-ReidNovember 02, 2013 - 2:10 pm

    Before I read the article, I felt as Ms. Franck did before: I was annoyed by big teenagers coming trick or treating. After reading her story and thinking of my own teenagers (15 and 17), I felt differently. It is very sweet and of course I give them candy! And in the future, I'll even give them some encouragement!

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  • FrederickNovember 02, 2013 - 4:19 pm

    The last time I went trick or treating I was 8. That worked fine for me. And I didn't go out damaging property in my teens. Perhaps other people are just different than I was.

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  • November 02, 2013 - 8:04 pm

    My wife spent 1 month sewing and creating our 13 year old grandson's Samurai warrior costume he helped design. I hope he never feels too old to enjoy Halloween.

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  • Ann lanzaNovember 03, 2013 - 4:13 am

    I love this article. Our middle schoolers get to come in costume to school. I listened to a boy in 7th grade tell me sadly he was too old to trick or treat and the next day he talked himself into it by saying, " Ya know because of Hurricane Sandy last year we got short changed. I think it ok to go again this year...... Right?" You bet I said grinning inside. Let kids be kids...... Great article.

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  • November 03, 2013 - 1:46 pm

    I much rather have teens running the streets trick or treating than running the streets looking for the next party that has alcohol or drugs. Thank you for spreading the word that puberty does not mean they are not still kids. I wish their were more alternatives for kids in this transitional stage.

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  • November 03, 2013 - 3:58 pm

    LOVE THIS ! My thoughts exactly!!!

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  • Brenda Lyn WilliamsonNovember 03, 2013 - 4:29 pm

    I love teenage trick or treaters! I love adult trick or treaters, too! It's fun! They're feeding their inner child! I love contributing to that. It's once a year. Come to my door! You're welcomed!

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  • JamiNovember 03, 2013 - 7:31 pm

    A the mom of 2 very young boys (1 & 4) I had a blast taking them out this year and seeing so many young parents dressed up with their kids. Later in the evening once my youngest was in bed and I was passing out the treats, you better believe mom or dad got candy from me if they were dressed up. Great article!

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  • LiliNovember 04, 2013 - 11:59 am

    My favorite trick or treaters are those partially costumed teenagers! Such as blessing to see a group of kids out having a good time. If we turn these kids away, we essentially are telling them that they are too old to have fun. That sure isn't the message I want to give. If anybody comes to my house asking for candy on Halloween, or food of any kind, any day of the year, I hope I will always have it to give!

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  • KierstenNovember 06, 2013 - 6:48 pm

    Your article left me in tears because you were able to express the feelings that I have had about Halloween for several years. You see, I teach Middle School in the community where I live and trick-or-treating is a big deal here. I relish the few hours where my teen students get to be kids again and not worry so much about the adult world. Thank you for the article!

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  • November 14, 2013 - 7:06 am

    This brings tears to my eyes...so sweet and true. They grow up too fast, which means we are growing older too fast also...enjoy EVERY second with your kids...whatever age they are. To be " Young at Heart " is truly a blessing.

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  • November 18, 2013 - 8:00 pm

    I completely agree! I trick or treated till I was 15. A few years ago, I witnessed a lady scolding a young girl for being too old and getting in the little ones way. I saw the look on this Childs face and it brought years to my eyes. 15 is a hard age to begin with. They can't drive yet, in between growing up but still childish enough to enjoy the fun!

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