Halloween starts out as so much fun for parents. When our kids are small, we get to pick out the adorable costumes they are going to wear as we knock on our neighbors’ doors together, screaming “Trick-or-treat!”

The fun sticks around as they get a little older and start picking out their own costumes — the princess they want to be, the superhero they love, or the cartoon character they can’t stop watching.

Emma Cattell/Instagram

My teenage sons both dressed in costumes last year as their favorite characters from the “The Walking Dead.”

My 13-year-old went out trick-or-treating, and my 16-year-old spent the night as Negan, the show’s infamous villain, while he handed out candy to kids stopping at our door.

Shannon Alexander/Dearly

Eventually, when they’re older, the only thing they’ll need from us is to buy the costume before they head out for the night with their friends, and that is when the ultimate Halloween dilemma begins.

How old is too old for kids to be trick-or-treating? When is it time for us to speak up as parents and say they’ve outgrown the holiday?

Teenagers end up being the ones stuck in the middle, usually being judged the most.

The age-limit controversy has people cringing on both sides:

  • Some say that if teens put on a real costume, not just a T-shirt with a pumpkin on it, and truly have the Halloween spirit, then let them have fun
  • Others say teenagers should get out of the way for the little kids who really deserve the candy.

The moderator of Budget101 got some blood boiling Monday when they urged people to be kind to teenage trick-or-treaters:

They wrote:

For those passing out candy this year, can you please take into consideration giving candy to teenagers and not shaming them for trick or treating by saying “aren’t you too old to be doing this?”

Just take a second to think…..would you rather them be out drinking and driving putting not only their life in danger but possibly you and/or your child’s life in danger?

Or would you rather them be knocking on your door getting candy?

Just think about that before you turn down candy to one of them. I’d rather see my teen doing this rather than something dangerous. Just because they’re 16 doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to have a little safe, legal fun.

Also, size doesn’t always determine mental age or special needs. You may see a teenager, but they may still relate as a younger child!

The responses came pouring in from both sides. Diane Thorne firmly stood behind keeping teens away from getting candy from their neighbors:

Wth? If you are 16 years old truck or treating, that is a problem. How about get a damn job and buy your own candy.

Coddling kids, THAT is what us wrong with society! Trick or treating at 16 Jesus that us ridiculous!!!!

Penny Rae was right behind her:

I’m tired of enabling people, period! This young adult’s DO NOT need to go door to door asking for candy!!!! Get a job!!!

But some saw no problem with teens throwing on a costume and knocking on their door. Ladonna Taylor said:

If ANY kid comes to my house for candy…they can have it. I’m not shaming anyone over a piece of candy.

Jessica Akers wrote:

If you knock on our door and say those magic words, you will walk away with candy and a Happy Halloween from us. No age restrictions, no judgment. I love to see kids of all ages enjoying themselves and having fun.

Sami Whiteside explained why she knows it hurts when a teen, in her case one with special needs, is told she is too old:

I was heart sick after hearing my 15 yr special needs niece has been told she is too old to dress up or to trick or treat. I guess I never grew up, because I believe Halloween is special & no age limit applies. Kids, adults, elderly I don’t care. If you dress up & knock at my house you get candy. The magic of Halloween is that you can be anything you want to be. Enjoy it at any & every age.


Nina Yepez Horner was upset that age is even a question:

Pathetic how this is even an issue for people. It’s Halloween for Christ sake. It’s a time a laughs, scares and a good time with family and friends. It’s once a year. MY kids can dress up for as long as they like. It’s a costume. It’s one night. Get over yourself. People who bitch about something so stupid need to get a life. People like this should keep their damn door shut since their such miserable shits. For those mentioning getting a job, you make assumptions simply because a teen is wearing a costume they have no responsibilities?! How the he’ll would you know?!? What if that kid takes care of his siblings because their parent may be disabled?? What if that kid gets home from school, does their homework and heads off to a job?? I can give a 100 other scenarios that you will never know because it’s none of your damn business. HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!!!

Catherine Skipper said:

Any one who won’t give candy to a bigger child is mean and grumpy. Teenagers are not adults. They don’t even think like adults and they want candy too. I would even give candy to adults who are dressed up. Don’t YOU like candy?

Lynn Parker made a good point saying size matters, not just age when people open their door:

I have b/g twins that are 13. My daughter thinks she’s too old, but my son isn’t as mature, and still wants to go. He’s nearly 6 ft tall though, and I’ve explained that there are people who will be rude about him being too old, but in his heart he’s still a kid who just wants to have fun. This is a cruel world we live in.

Lori Robinson Smith brought in a whole new question with her response:

I was actually always less bothered by teens trick or treating than people who take their x-month-old baby (and only child) door to door.

I still watch my teens get decked out in costumes along with their friends and have fun on Halloween, and yes, my 16-year-old son does have a job.

It just might be time to stop stressing out about the age cut-off and let kids and teens be kids. At least that’s what an overwhelming amount of people think, according to a “Today” survey, with a whopping 43 percent of respondents picking “never” when asked what age kids should stop trick-or-treating.

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