For the love of candy: How old is too old to trick-or-treat?

Many students have fond childhood memories of Halloween. Dressing up, going door-to-door for candy, finding the houses that give out the full-sized chocolate bars. While some students outgrow the tradition, others embrace the night with no shame.

At what age is one supposed to stop trick-or-treating? Are you ever truly too old? St. Thomas University students Emily Dowdall-Martin and Paige Corporon don’t think so.

“There shouldn’t be an age limit to stop celebrating Halloween. It’s like telling someone they can’t celebrate Christmas anymore because they’re too old,” said 17-year-old Dowdall-Martin.

Emily Dowdall-Martin thinks putting an age limit on trick-or-treating is like putting an age limit on celebrating Christmas. (Hannah Rudderham/AQ)

Fines on fun

But some cities don’t agree. An amended bylaw for the city of Bathurst, New Brunswick states no one older than 16 can go trick-or-treating. The bylaw for trick-or-treaters originally set a curfew of 7 p.m and nobody older than 14 was allowed to participate. After pushback from the community, the curfew was moved to 8 p.m. and the age of 16. Now, anyone who commits an offence against the Halloween bylaw could face an $80 to $200 fine.

“For the people who are enjoying it and feel the true spirit of Halloween, it’s ridiculous how they’re taking that away from them now,” Dowdall-Martin said.

Corporon is from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. She said her hometown is entirely accepting of older kids continuing the Halloween tradition.

“You don’t put an age restriction on when it’s a good time to stop believing in Santa or having Santa deliver presents,” Corporon said.

“I know in my house, it was never explained. We just kind of grew out of it. It’s the same with Halloween. Some kids grow out of it and some kids continue to go, so I don’t think you should charge kids $200 for trying to go out and get some free candy for one night.” 

Feeling the judgement

In many cases, teenagers in cities with no age-caps on trick-or-treating will find they’re told by the people giving out candy they’re too old.

But some believe people of all ages should be allowed to trick-or-treat, as it keeps them from getting into trouble elsewhere.

“Most older kids go to parties now instead of trick-or-treating anyway so then there’s the concern of them being out [getting] drunk,” Corporon said.

First-year student Cat Charles said she wouldn’t turn anyone away for trick-or-treating, but she believes older people should leave the Halloween fun for children.

“Halloween really is meant to be more for the kids than adults,” said Charles.

First-year student Maddy Chaloux thinks teenagers can trick-or-treat, but  said there comes an age when it’s time to stop asking for candy.

“I find it’s OK but once you start getting into your 20s, it’s like, ‘OK, now you’re an adult,’” she said.

Paige Corporon thinks people of all ages should be allowed to trick-or-treat. (Hannah Rudderham/AQ)

Pressure to quit

Many students stop trick-or-treating at a young age because they feel pressured to stop.

“I went trick-or-treating up until last year and people were telling me that I was too old and they were almost judging me for going out,” Dowdall-Martin said.

She said would go trick-or-treating again this year if she weren’t living away from her home in Ottawa.

Corporon said she simply grew out of it when she was 15 or 16.

“I always thought it was still fun to dress up and hand out candy,” Corporon said, despite not going door-to-door like she used to.

Dowdall-Martin believes all kids and teenagers should be able to celebrate and go trick-or-treating without facing criticism about it.

“It’s a fun night, you get free candy, you can go out with your friends and have a good time,” Dowdall-Martin said.

“I don’t think anything bad should come of it because they just want to go trick-or-treating.”

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