teens trick or treating
Momming,  Parenting Tips

Should You Let Your Teen Trick-or-Treat?

I recently saw a post on social media that urged people not to turn away older trick-or-treaters and heard that some cities are going as far as to set age limits for trick-or-treating. So that got me thinking! Do a lot of people think there is an age limit for trick-or-treating? What would be the reasons not to let teens trick-or-treat like younger kids? And what, if any, expectations should you set if you let your teen trick-or-treat?

Is Your Teen Too Old to Trick-or-Treat?

A lot has changed since I was young. Back then I usually knew a couple of friends having small supervised gatherings at their house on Halloween. We’d wear silly costumes..or not because we were too cool. We’d eat junk food, flirt, and watch a scary movie until our 1-hour extended school-night curfew rolled around. Now, parents tend to not get home early enough to supervise such parties.

When you think about it, should teens be expecting to party it up on Halloween? Umm, no! They are not adults, they are still kids. However, expecting them to want to hang with their parents at this age is also unrealistic. “What did she just say? But I want my kids with me!”

Hear me out for a second. Part of teenagers developing into competent young adults, unfortunately, involves the NEED for independence from their parents. As much as we want to keep a close eye on them we need to trust them to do things on their own. More on how this relates to trick or treating in a minute, but first …

Reasons People are Against Teens Trick-or-Treating

I get that teenagers can get rowdy and annoying. Believe me, I’ve been through the teen years with 4 kids already; 3 that are boys who like to show off for their friends. I’m sure lots of people think that teens would crowd little kids on a porch, take a larger handful of candy, or trudge through someone’s flower bed. Sadly, we’ve seen Halloween decorations get destroyed and pumpkins get smashed. However, I do not believe that those things are being done by teens whose parent’s LET them go trick-or-treating, but by those kids who were given no direction by their parents and had nothing else to do.

Should you let your teen trick-or-treat
Got one picture but then they were hunting for candy!

What Options do Teens Have on Halloween

So what are teens to do on Halloween? I have little kids to take trick or treating and to get home early for bed. Since I won’t be home with my teens, I believe it’s important to find something for them to do that night. I think that most of us would agree that hanging out at someone’s house unsupervised is not a good idea. Especially because a bunch of teens expecting a “party” will probably cave to peer pressure and bad decision-making.

I should mention that it’s awesome if your teen wants to hang with the family on Halloween! When promoting independence, I’m not saying you have to force them to go off on their own. But here are some options you can give them if they want to do something without you on Halloween:

A Supervised Party

If this is an option for your teen, I would just make sure that you check with, and better yet know personally, the parents that will be supervising. Also, make sure you are clear about their curfew time and consequences if it is not met.

Local Youth Group Halloween Event

We have lots of these types of events in my area. It’s a great way to have organized fun and meet new friends. If you are not familiar with the program or church, I recommend calling and asking questions ahead of time. Or at the very least take a peek inside when dropping them off to make sure no shenanigans are going on.

Volunteer for a Halloween Event in Your Community

I love this option! Volunteering not only allows for independence but provides opportunities for your teen to be responsible and giving of their time to others. They can learn so many great skills, including the service on their college applications, and acquire community service hours for school if needed as a graduation requirement (like my kids needed!)

Let Them Trick-or-Treat

Lastly, let them trick or treat if that’s what they want to do. Teens are still kids and let’s face it, they love candy! While most cities still allow teens to trick or treat, make sure to check if there are any age restrictions where you live that would prohibit your child from participating.

You may be thinking, “Well then, I’ll just have them trick or treat with us.” In my experience 9 times out of 10, your teen does not want to go with you; but if they do great! Going back to the need for independence; forcing them to go with you just creates resistance and a moody teenager. Nobody wants that when you’re trying to have a nice evening. You also don’t want to give off the sense that you don’t trust your teen to conduct themselves appropriately when away from you.

To build more trust with your teen by letting them trick or treat and providing them some expectations, such as these:

– Dress Appropriately

If an outfit barely covers their body and you wouldn’t let them wear it to school on a designated dress-up day, then it’s probably not what people are going to want to see at their doorstep. To be honest, if we let them wear what most people consider to be an adult costume, then they will think they are too old to trick-or-treat. That’s what we are trying to avoid.

– Be Courteous

Talk to teens about how to be respectful of others and what may be considered rude behavior. For example, be aware of small children, let them go ahead of you, and don’t crowd. Avoid people’s lawns or landscapes by always using the sidewalk or driveways. If they let you get your own candy, only take 1 or 2 pieces, not a handful. Always be polite by saying “thank you” when given something and “excuse me” if you bump into someone. Also, only ring or knock once and if no one is coming to the door move on to the next house.

– Be Safe

Talk to your teens about being aware of their surroundings. Only go to homes that are well-lit and stay near other groups of trick-or-treats. I recommend having your teens trick or treat near where you are going to be or close to a public place, such as a shopping center or park that’s having a carnival. This way they can find safety with other people if necessary. It’s also important to only cross the street at an intersection of streets where cars are more likely to slow down.

– Follow the Law

You would be surprised that many teens don’t know about local codes like loitering and jaywalking laws. Make sure to look them up for your area, including any minor curfews that need to be followed. Also, make sure you stress that it is never okay to play with, take, or damage property that doesn’t belong.

Let Them Have Fun on Halloween

Whatever you decide to let your teen do on Halloween, let them have fun. They may be getting older, but they are still kids that are building memories of their childhood that you want them to look back on fondly.

I’d love to hear what your teen does or any Halloween memories that you have from that age?

Don’t Forget to Pin for later:

Some people feel that teenagers are too old to trick-or-treat, but what options do teens have on Halloween night? ~ onehoppymomma.com #trickortreat #halloween #teenstrickortreating #activitiesforteens #parentingteens #raisingteenagers #


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  • Patty

    My kids are still little but I remember trick or treating until super late when I was a teen. We would always go to the big houses to get the good candy πŸ™‚

  • mommanextdoor

    We trick or treated in high school. We would gather at a friend’s house to get ready together and then go out trick or treating. One trick r treating was finished, we went back to one of the friend houses and the parents usually had soup and grilled cheese for us while we watched movies until we had to be to our own homes for the night. I think trick or treating should be for any age (even adults) as long as people can respect others and not get too carried away. After all, life is short, live it up!

  • Marjie Mare

    I am so grateful I came across that post. My almost 14 year old daughter is still debating if she should go trick or treating. For the first time, in years, I have bought any costume. Thanks for sharing these options.

  • Oscar Gonzalez

    This is totally a parenting issue. I can’t believe cities think it’s their job to determine who can and cannot trick or treat. That’s absolutely outrageous. I also agree with you that those that are destructive or malicious are the kids without good parents or direction and the rest of them shouldn’t be punished for these actions. — I remember trick or treating with my friends up to sophmore year in HS. Then we all collectively thought it was time to move on when the next year came around.

    I think if we teach our kids to behave and be good citizens, they should be able to trick or treat until they decide it’s time to move on. The city has 0 business dictating this.

  • Joanna

    I agree with let them have fun on Halloween, no matter what they choose to do. I don’t think there is ever too old for going trick of treating, but if they want to spend time with their friends instead, why not?

  • Jeferson

    teen age is such a stormy age, i mean hormones surge that we should impose some restrictions just like what mentioned here in this article….. We can really have fun if we can get along…..

  • Joanna Stephens

    I absolutely think they should be able to trick or treat. It’s fun and harmless activities like these that are what keep young people out of trouble. It’s sad how society has to screw with so much and make people feel like they shouldn’t.

  • Lisa

    I don’t have kids, but I can remember being a teen! I would hate if I couldn’t have enjoyed all those Halloween parties and events. Trick or treat should be for everyone!

  • Monique Tillman

    In this day and age I probably would not. I live in a very safe neighborhood but there are other people that come to our neighborhood because the neighbors give out alot of candy. Any crazy person can come and snatch your child. I will always supervise Halloween until my child is over the age of wanting to go.

  • Ashley

    I am all for teens trick or treating! As long as they are behaving what would be the problem? I never understood why people think Halloween should just be reserved for the little ones.

  • Lauren

    This is a concept that I’m sure many parents struggle with! Especially with the news and social media these days! I think you wrapped it up in a very wonderful way for people to understand! Thanks for sharing!

  • J

    Back when I was 13, people were actually mean to us when trick or treating, people think big kids do not deserve free treats. That’s why we stopped and just enter costume contests.

  • Matija

    The volunteer work and helping out is a great way to have the teens do something during Halloween, but still, if you show them you trust them and their decisions, that will make them trust you more in your judgment, if they have a younger sibling whom they adore they could always go trick or treating with them, to show them how it’s done.

  • Peter

    Defo let them trick or treat! Absolutely agree on all your points:)
    I have a 13 years old boy, who is very mature, he dressed up only 2 two times and came with us and friends ask for candies. My 12 years old twins, my daughter can’t wait to dress up silly legally, but his brother told me, he is too old for this:))) Over 8 years we live in this house, we had a party always with friends and their kids and after we went a big round. This will be the first year when i don’t have to worry about who will throw a cooked pasta on the ceiling while i’m in the kitchen:)) But how i know my boys probably they will invite some of their friends just to surprise me:)
    Happy Halloween for you:)

  • Samantha Flores

    Hi!! I remember trick or treating as a teen and it was so mich fun! I went with my best friend and whatever candy we got, we recycled into the candy bowls that our parents used to pass back out to trick or treaters. I don’t agree with the age limit some are trying to enforce on kids for Halloween night. I think everyone is trying to have fun and as long as they are having fun safely and respectfully, why restrict them? I have a son of my own now and I look forward to his future Halloween celebrations and I hope he stays a child at heart no matter his age and just has fun in our serious world. Happy Halloween!!πŸŽƒ

  • Jill

    I never understand why people get so up in arms over teens trick or treating. Would you rather they be put causing trouble? It’s not like a 35 year old is knocking on your door for handouts. I really just think some people need to calm down.
    I love that you offered up other suggestions for teens on Halloween though. Definitely some great ideas.

  • Sharvina

    Thank you for your blog post! Your ideas make people think about the various options. I prefer having teenagers volunteer at community events.

  • Jen @ Jenron Designs

    I am so glad to see more people supporting teens trick or treating I totally did until I was about 16 and could drive, I think it is fine for teens to still be kids as long as they are not doing bad things, we should just let them be kids for as long as they can. Hold on to youth I say!

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