How Old is Too Old to Trick-or-Treat? Here’s the Verdict

I know a lot of people hate Halloween and trick-or-treating but I’m not one of them. Since my kids were babies I’ve enjoyed dressing them up and letting them knock on our neighbours’ doors. We’ve always lived on streets where our neighbours have not only welcomed trick-or-treaters but have made Halloween extra special for everyone. We are very lucky.

But how old is too old to trick-or-treat? Is there an age limit to trick-or-treating? Or should there be? Should parents be preventing their older kids from dressing up and going door to door?

Turns out, most people agree on this topic and we’re really happy to see the results.

Halloween - How old is too old to trick-or-treat
Photo: Rawpixel/Bigstock

Towns saying no to teens trick-or-treating 

In America, where trick-or-treating is insanely popular, there is an actual cut-off for trick-or-treaters, generally around 16 years old. According to Upworthy, many people in America believe:

Anyone past the age of thirteen has less sincere joy for the holiday, and merely uses trick-or-treating as a candy grabbing “scam”…thus potentially ruining the experience for the littles.

Certain cities have even implemented laws to enforce an age cut-off somewhere between 12-16-years-old, depending on the location. Punishment for breaking these rules vary, but in Chesapeake, Virginia it included up to six months of jail time up until 2019.”

In the city of Bathurst in New Brunswick, Canada, there is also a law to prohibit kids 16 and older from ringing doorbells which means they aren’t allowed to trick-or-treat either. I doubt anyone has actually been charged under these laws though.

Trick-or-Treat age limit

However, Upworthy then asked their general community and they had a much different age limit in place – NONE. 

There is no age cut off. It’s so wonderful to see community out interacting no matter what your age!”

A kid that is older that is trick-or-treating means that they are enjoying their innocence and not off doing something bad, wrong or illegal. Let them enjoy the little things while they can.”

I think if people are trick or treating and staying out of trouble who cares how old they are.”

Source: Supplied

Sheryl Ziegler, a Denver family therapist echoes this.

There is no age when kids ‘should’ stop trick-or-treating, but after graduating high school many enjoy other ways to celebrate Halloween. The decision to stop is based more on behavior than age.” 

Let the teens collect lollies

And, as a mum of a 13-year-old, I’m pretty happy to see this. My teen doesn’t participate in Halloween per se. He does assist me with taking his four-year-old sister around the neighbourhood and not once has he ever been greeted with a snide remark that he’s too old. Thank goodness cause I’d go all Mum Hulk on them if they did.

Plenty of my son’s 13 and 14-year-old mates still dress up and head door to door, even without younger siblings trailing behind.

In our community, I’ve also seen plenty of older kids – 17, 18 and 19, dressed up in scary outfits and happily going door to door or checking out the various Haunted Houses in the neighbourhood. In some cases, these Halloween-themed houses are far more appropriate for older trick-or-treaters compared to the younger ones who may be a bit frightened by a headless child.

Lily at Halloween
What the heck is this?? Source: Supplied

And, as the commenters above point out, if the teens are participating in a bit of innocent fun, let them. At least they’re not out stealing or on their phones. Well, they probably are on their phones, but they are OUTSIDE the house, exercising, socialising, and probably even laughing with their mates.

While many assume that teens are just doing it to get free lollies, this isn’t the worst thing in the world either. I still have the best memories of being a tween and teen and trading different lollies with my friends at the end of a very successful trick-or-treating trek.

Everyone has a different opinion on trick-or-treating and how old is too old to trick-or-treat and we’d love to know your thoughts on the latter. Will you be taking the kids out tonight? Do you think there should be a trick-or-treat age limit?

If you are taking the kids out and don’t have a costume sorted yet, take a look at these super easy DIY Halloween costumes you can pull together after school.

What to read next


Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

Write A Comment