At some point, your children will feel like they are too old to trick or treat. Even more complicated is that while they may not want to visit house to house collecting enough candy to last an entire year, they are probably somewhat disappointed about their own decision. As a parent, you see your child – even at 11 or 12 years old, almost as tall as you are, and have to wonder if it's really time to hang up the princess costumes - or if your child could get away with it for another year. And if your child does want to trick or treat, chances are you feel somewhat embarrassed by it and might try to get them to hand out candy to children instead.
The end to trick or treating for Halloween is almost as heart breaking as the end to believing in the Tooth Fairy. And if you have younger children in your home, the older sibling's disbelief makes it even more difficult to keep up the facades. Is it worth pushing them to dress up one more year, or should you accept their solemn resignation to childish things as the end? The truth is there aren't any written rules about Halloween (surprisingly so) that dictate children over the age of 'whatever age' are no longer allowed to carry pillow sacks and hunt for candy. And plenty of adults use the holiday to be as childish as possible. The reason is because its fun. Just because your child is approaching teen hood and may look ridiculous dressed up as a Power Ranger, doesn't mean they are no longer a child. If you sense they want to partake in the festivities of the night – try not to discourage them. The fancies of being child end soon enough and you would do well to preserve whichever ones you can.
Sure, neighbors might not take kindly to these young adults capering to their home on Halloween and stealing candy that is meant for toddlers and elementary school students. Yet who is to say that just because a child reaches a certain age, or certain size means they should no longer be allowed to enjoy childish things. It is sort of warped that most adults giving out candy find pleasure in cuteness in toddlers at the door escorted by parents who encourage them to say thank you; but feel irritated once these same children get older. If your child wants to trick or treat, to collect candy and enjoy the festivities of the night – then you should let them.
Often, older kids are blamed for ruining the night for the littles. They are the ones accused of smashing the pumpkins after midnight and wreaking havoc in the neighborhood. Some parents are frightened that the older children will harm or scare their smaller children. All of this is hogwash. There are plenty of good kids who just want to remain kids for longer than society will allow them to. Quite frankly, there is nothing wrong with that. As a general rule, the older children should go a little later in the evening. Most parents with young children tend to take the kids before it is completely dark outside. This way the two generations of children will have some separation and all around, the kids will be allowed to be kids.
Given the choice on Halloween night of having your 11 year old trick or treat around the neighborhood in a costume or attend a Middle School Party – most parents would choose the harmless plight of trick or treating. Heck, your children may even be happy for you to escort them through the neighborhood (unseen of course). If you have older and younger children, allow the older kids to be in charge of their smaller siblings so that they can enjoy the night without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Then, when the candy is collected and you have checked it all to make sure it isn't poisoned – you can take yet another Halloween picture, complete with your whole family dressed up and smiling. As you look back on it, you will be glad you took this last opportunity to allow your child to trick or treat – because chances are next year, you won't have the same option.
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