Too old to get a treat?

Trick-or-treat for all ages. (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

I usually buy too much candy for Halloween. I worry about children being disappointed. I feel I’m one snack-size candy bar away from Halloween chaos. We aren’t concerned about the age of the students knocking on our door. Our philosophy is that a little bit of candy makes everyone feel like a kid again, even for just one night. Excluding the dental bill, what’s the harm?

I don’t understand the judgment when adults complain about teenagers causing mischief around Halloween but, at the same time, reject older teens choosing to “trick-or-treat.” It’s a mixed message to withhold miniature candies based on a student’s age or for not wearing a costume. There are many reasons for a student not to wear a costume, from financial to religious. Just toss a treat into their bag without demanding an explanation.

The candy emphasis should concentrate on the older kids anyway. Does an infant, not yet on solid food, go home and toss down a few chocolate bars? I’m confident that in most cases, it’s the parents who are melting tiny chocolates into a Baileys coffee and washing it down with a few packets of Smarties. (I can’t be the only parent who did that with my kids’ Halloween haul.)

Sure, babies look adorable in their costumes, but the rewards need to go to the teens taking their siblings around a dark neighborhood while parents wait in a warm car or house. On Halloween, every child deserves a fun-size trophy, even if they pretend to be too cool to accept one.

It’s nice to remember that these tweens and teens are young and need as many days and opportunities to feel carefree and childlike. I don’t suggest anyone tolerate mischief, but perhaps the kids wouldn’t get into mischief if we didn’t candy-shame them.

It’s ultimately the homeowner deciding who is worthy of candy. I hope they look beyond the student’s age and see the child. I know all the students landing on our porch are welcome to some snack-size nibbles. We have stickers, too. Happy Halloween!


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