While driving home the other day, out of the blue, one of my three daughters declared "I can't wait for the all-you-can-eat candy buffet!" Without any context I turned blankly and asked her what she was talking about.
"Trick or treating," she quipped with a big smile on her face. It got a laugh from the whole family, but raised one of several questions I have about Halloween's sweetest tradition:
How old is too old to go trick or treating?
When I see high schoolers come to the door, I always raise an eyebrow, at least in my mind if not on my face. If they went to the trouble of dressing up and/or they are my immediate neighbors or my children's friends I am more than happy to give them treats. Once in a while though kids just knock on the door asking for candy. Kids I don't know and more importantly kids who didn't even bother to dress up. I usually give them something, but always wonder whether I should.
On the other end of the spectrum is my youngest child. She is now a fifth grader and who would like nothing more than to be allowed to roam the neighborhood with her friends, but without a parent (especially her parent) in tow. That's not going to happen this year, I'm not ready to stop enjoying the trick or treat experience with her. She will have an adult with her and her friends, even if it is a distance that spares her the embarrassment of having a chaperone. That leads me to question number two:
At what age do you let your kids trick or treat without an adult?
Now, let's talk strategy. This is possibly the most important question parents and kids must decide upon:
What time should your trick or treating begin?
How you answer may depend on how old your children are. If you have toddlers do you wait for dark or do you go even before dinner time? There are obviously no rules, but there are often some "norms" or traditions based on family or neighborhoods. Do you compare notes with other parents? I'm curious how it is in your neighborhood.
Of course the other side of that time coin is:
What time should your trick or treating end?
It is a school night after all. Is 8 great or is 9 just fine?
At the end of the day I don't know that I've ever come up with any answers that satisfy both me and my children for these questions.
Oh, one more question for people who live in areas of Tredyffrin and Easttown where the houses are spread out.
If you don't have a neighborhood that doesn't lends itself to walking or if you live in a house that's not in a neighborhood at all, how do you decide where to knock on doors- or do you just stay home?
Share your trick or treat thoughts about these or any other Halloween topic in the comments section.
All of us at Patch wish you and your family a happy and safe evening.
And when you get back from trick or treating post your photos wed love to see your costumes and how much "loot" your trick or treaters collect.