For many grown Americans, Halloween is a time to remember the childhood joys of the primary tradition associated with the holiday — trick-or-treating. It’s the memories of finding the perfect costume, getting the big chocolate bar from the generous lady on the block that every kid went to or even having your parents stuff a snowsuit underneath your vampire outfit to avoid freezing in the late October air that come back up this time of year.
But just how old is too old to trick or treat? Dressing up in costume and going to Halloween parties is something many people do well into adulthood, but the tradition of knocking on strangers’ doors for free candy is one seemingly still relegated to the kids. There is no age set in stone at which people have to end the tradition, but most agree that around the time kids reach the teenage years, it’s time to hang up the masks.
Some cities and municipalities have in the past few years imposed age limits on trick-or-treaters. Certain areas in Virginia started limiting trick-or-treating to those 12 and younger in the 1970’s.
Kate Roberts, a California pediatrician, said most Americans quit the door-to-door activity between 12 and 17 years old. "If you have a teen who throws on an orange T-shirt and walks out the door, they're not really expressing the holiday spirit," she told Today.com. "Teens can sometimes be disrespectful. You want to make sure your teen isn't going to be causing any issues in the community."
Some Americans still believe, however, that no age is too old to trick-or-treat. Today posted a survey asking at what age should people stop the tradition, and the most common answer was never, with 29 percent of the vote. The next most common answer was a tie at 15 percent for 12 years old and 13 years old.
WITI-TV out of Milwaukee conducted a similar poll, with 34 percent of responders saying one is never too old to trick-or-treat. Some 17 percent of people said 13 was too old, while nearly 14 percent said 15 is too old.
— The Social (@TheSocialCTV) October 22, 2015
Not all people mind teenagers coming to their door for treats. In a poll conducted by Pennlive.com in Harrisburg, 30 percent of people said they don’t mind if teens trick-or-treat at their door as long as some effort is put into the costume. The poll also found that 27 percent of people think Halloween is strictly for kids, and that teenagers should stay away.