Boo! Who is still trick-or-treating?

Brian Lucchesi & Kayla Kaluzny, Writer


As we know, the inaugural holiday of the acclaimed ‘holiday season’ has just passed us. Halloween is the second biggest holiday in terms of participation and money spent. The average total cost of Halloween season spending is $330. With 175 million Americans participating, you could say Halloween is the popular and important pinnacle of fall time festivities. As high school students and young adults, we are grow up and tend to outgrow the desire to go out trick or treating, or even dress up and show spirit. This is causing a conundrum. As high school students, most of us are under 18 years old, which would make us ‘children’. Some of us still wish to go out and trick or treat, and not be limited to late night basement parties in lame costumes.   The question of how old is too old to trick or treat remains in our minds as we debate to feed our desire or live with the unavoidable fact that we are getting older.

Let’s begin with the facts we know for sure.  With everyone who observes Halloween, “about 1 in 3 had someone in their household trick-or-treating this year,” yet none said when they would/should stop.  Although, “the general sense appears to be the teens.”  When asked about an appropriate age to stop trick-or-treating, “about 57 percent of respondents picked an age between 12 and 15”.   There seems to be many recurring trends with the ages and responses as people tend to believe that the teenage years sounds right to stop. This also is a parallel to the age in which we as kids start to get bored with trick or treating or feel weird about it. This could be a subconscious decision, based on when society believes it should end. At the Residence of Riverbend, an assisted living home in Ipswich, resident Pat Mariano (77) believes that “they become bored of it on their own” and could be doing more mature things as a good use of their time.”  She took from experience of her own childhood and those of her kids. As her kids were growing up, they eventually grew out of their trick or treating phase, as it was stated before. A better use of their time could be hanging out with friends and hosting a party for all of them to have fun at. This way it gives them a “chance to socialize and have fun while kids are having their own fun trick or treating.”

The idea of teens having their own party was a reoccuring theme in the interviews conducted.  Emily Underwood, former teacher at Ipswich High School, believed that the average age to end trick or treating was 12-13.  This was for it was “developmentally appropriate” to begin having “a party in place of trick or treating.”  She believes that around this age is where kids become more rebellious and mischievous.   Teens begin to “start doing wrong things” and are influenced by bad habits. This could include egging houses, knocking mailboxes, and “TP’ing houses as a way of late night Halloween pranks”. To stop these urges, teens should participate in “custom parties in place of trick or treating”.  Kristen McGingley, gym teacher at Ipswich High School, had some personal experience with the late night pranks. Her friends would partake in said pranks so she had first hand experience. She was aware of how things could go wrong and had many ideas to correct the behavior. She recommended teens to “have a rec teen night dance, a parade, fun events, and possibly crafts” and stray from trick or treating past sixth grade.  Teens start to “outgrow the joy from trick or treating at this age” and would have more fun doing more mature things. The other gym teacher at Ipswich High School, Gardy, was a bit unsure of a set age but believed fifteen was a typical age to stop. This is when he notices kids “doing things they shouldn’t” and they become “stingy about candy”. Although, he doesn’t think there is “any certain age to stop” and it is all “relative to each person specifically”.  He is aware of the idea that trick or treating is “for the kids not teens” but still understands the “relative good intentions” they would have towards it.  On the other hand though, there is a good amount of teens with “bad influences doing things they shouldn’t”, making it difficult to come to a concrete conclusion.  

From all the people interviewed, the majority believed an average age to end trick or treating would be around fourteen to fifteen.  This is when teens become more and more independant and bored of the Halloween tradition. They seem to make their own traditions of parties with peers at their own age and make fun for themselves.  It was collectively a ‘make or break’ age where teens would get urges to do bad things during Halloween or be satisfied with a place to have fun with their friends. To curve the urge, they insisted on leaving trick or treating to the kids and get teens invlolved with mature things to move them along the path of life and growing up.