Halloween brought about lots of posts on social media, all similar to the one below, that, in my opinion, nagged us at best and admonished and chastised adults at worst.
“For those passing out candy this year….when a teenager comes to your door….please give them the candy…. without saying, “aren’t you too old to be doing this?”….because they could be out doing things much worse. Let them be kids as long as they can. Kids grow up way too fast. Let them spend one evening channeling their inner childhood ~ Thank you
Also, please don’t refuse a child candy because they aren’t dressed up. Some children have autism or have sensory issues that make dressing up highly uncomfortable, if not unbearable. And some can’t afford it.
Think about providing alternatives to candy for those who cannot have food dyes or have allergies – toys or stickers etc
One last thing, size doesn’t always determine mental age or special needs. You may see a teenager, but they may still relate as a younger child!
I’ve thought about this a lot. I wondered if maybe I was slightly offended/annoyed because Halloween wasn’t a big deal in my family when I was growing up. Then I thought maybe it was because I’m getting older. Then I realized the reason I don’t like it is because I feel it is rude to give people rules or instructions in advance for showing up at your home and asking for (or in some cases, demanding) candy. I am a thoughtful and kind human being and I don’t need a lecture about how to treat people that I’m welcoming onto my property and giving treats to. The post feels entitled and just rubs me the wrong way.
I stopped giving out Halloween candy last year when only a small handful of children thanked me out of dozens. The parents were standing right there too and made no attempts to coax their child(ren) into manners. Giving out candy to ungrateful and entitled kids (and parents) is not my cup of tea, y’all.
Would love to hear thoughts and experiences. Before any of you make assumptions, I work with children and love them. My husband and I don’t have any yet but over my dead body would my child dare not say thank you to Every. Single. Person. they take candy from. 1031-18
You make an interesting point. Do hosts have an obligation to cater to specific needs of every possible child that comes trick or treating to their house?
An acquaintance of mine posted to Facebook that we should give candy to teenagers who are not in costume because “it’s hard to go through puberty”. Hmmm…puberty was challenging when I was a kid way back in the ancient times and yet nearly all of us stopped by age 13 because it seemed shameful to keep trick or treating at that age. At age 13 and after we were hosting our own Halloween parties in the garage or creating fun ways to distribute candy at our own houses.
I believe because trick or treating after age 13 was viewed as childish when I was young, the culture of trick or treating from house to house remained the domain of the pre-teens and toddlers resulting in nearly 100% of the houses in the neighborhoods participating in distributing candy. Not so today.
Give candy to teenagers as an alternative to them “doing things much worse”? Like vandalism? Theft? If they are already doing “much worse things”, how naive is it to think that trick or treating for a few hours will change that behavior? Giving them candy simply becomes protection “money” to keep them from egging your house, toilet papering the trees, keying your car and flattening your tires.
If Halloween trick or treating has been reduced to catering to the sugar demands of teenagers so conflicted with the agonies of puberty that they must be distracted for a few hours to keep from “doing much worse”, it is reasonable that people reject that kind of extortion and decline to hand out candy to anyone.
And we didn’t just go house to house acquiring candy when I was a kid. Trick or Treating For UNICEF was common and I did it at age 12. Instead of a bag to collect candy, there was a small box that was carried and when the door opened, the kid said, “Trick or treat for UNICEF!” Host deposited a quarter, a dime, whatever into the box and the proceeds later donated to UNICEF. On Halloween at our house there was a bowl of candy and a small pile of coins ready for the UNICFers. It’s a great organization serving children and the organization still offers their Trick or Treat For UNICEF boxes. But how many of you have ever heard of it or had a child knock at your asking for a tiny donation?