How Old is Too Old to Trick or Treat? (And Will You Use an App to Track Your Child This Year?)

Posted October 31, 2011 by

Photo of elisabeth

The last time I went trick or treating, I was 15 years old. My friend Colleen and I didn’t even bother dressing up — I think we just wore something vaguely pajama-ish. The nail in the coffin was when a woman answered the door, blinked and said, “Aren’t you two a little old to be asking for candy?” (I was glad it was dark outside and that she couldn’t see our faces turning as red as the mini-Twizzlers in our bags.)

Was she right?And if 15 is too old, how long should kids be allowed to trick or treat?

Here’s another question: at what age will you let your children go trick or treating by themselves? I was in third or fourth grade when my mom let me go with friends (Oh, the delicious freedom of it!), but that was a different time. I think we’re fairly laid back parents, but my son is in third grade right now and I don’t think my husband or I would feel comfortable allowing him to be out until all hours ringing doorbells, gorging on candy and playing tricks on unsuspecting neighbors. (In other words, engaging in the things my brother, myself and our friends did with gleeful abandon every year.)

And now for the third question: if you do let your child go trick or treating with friends, will you use the “FamilySignal” app (or similar) to locate them at any given time? My son doesn’t have a phone yet, but when he’s a little older — and we’re finally ready to send him out on his own — I think we’re going to make that app part of our holiday prep.

What do you think? And, what other parenting issues threaten to haunt your Halloween night?


Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.

Popular on Empowering Parents

View Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. momoftwo Report

    My daughter, who is 14, and her friends from her middle school came by on Halloween and went trick or treating in the neighborhood. Many of the kids who showed up at our door were middle and high school kids who live in the neighborhood. Many wore elaborate costumes, some dressed simply. I think kids should be allowed to trick or treat until they reach high school. Most of them stop around 11th or 12th grade. Peer pressure usually stops them from participating. I have heard of many kids in college who continue to have Halloween parties in their dorms…



Join our NEW Total Transformation® Learning Center!

Practical, affordable parenting help starting at $14.95/month BECOME A MEMBER TODAY!

Empowering Parents is the leading online resource for child behavior help


Parent Coaching Sessions

7.5 Million

Global Visitors

10+ Years

Helping Families