By MOLLY HOLT
There is a debate whether or not there should be an age limit on trick-or-treating set by local governments. The fact that this is even a topic for debate is ridiculous.
The government has no business telling people whether or not they can partake in a holiday celebration. This is far too personal of an intrusion being made by the government. This isn’t just a debate topic, but a reality in some cities in the country.
There are ordinances in towns, such as Belleville, M.O., that ban children over the age of 12 from trick-or- treating. The reason given for the ban is that it is frightening to have a six-foot tall kid showing up at your house at night asking for candy, according to the New York Daily News.
This may seem like a valid point. It is frightening when anyone shows up at your front door in today’s day and age. However, this does not warrant the government taking a stand. There aren’t reports of teenagers dressing as trick-or-treaters to attack unsuspecting neighbors. There is not a widespread, documented problem that supports the need for that fear. This is not even a rule that could be easily enforced, unless the response to “trick or treat” becomes “Can I see your ID?”
If any community member is really concerned for their safety, there are other ways to help ease that fear. They could not decorate for Halloween or give out candy. If they want to still participate, they can stop at an earlier hour once most younger kids stop trick or treating. If community members are still nervous about teens trick or treating, they can always turn o their porch light, a common sign to tell trick or treaters not to come by.
A more realistic concern for neighborhoods is the practice of mischief night. If teenagers are refused treats, they may resort to tricks. Government involvement may be a reasonable response to this activity, as it does pose an actual threat to personal property, but by banning teens from trick or treating the government is pushing them to partake in such activities. Teenagers are at an awkward age where there really aren’t many “age- appropriate” activities for them to participate in on Halloween. Boredom can lead teens to do stupid and dangerous things to pass the time. They do not need any help getting into trouble.
The idea that trick or treating teens are dangerous is a stretch. Yes, it could be a little nerve-wracking for an elderly woman to answer her door at night and find a tall teenager dressed in a mask. However, this is not any scarier than a strong, tall, adult man answering the door and giving candy to little children. Both situations may leave people feeling a little uneasy, but that’s just because trick or treating by its very nature is a little strange. The government would never ban adults from handing out candy because it could be a possible threat to children. That is because the real reason behind the ban is not a safety concern. It is the stupid, societal idea that kids need to be forced to grow up, and grow up fast.
Trick-or-treating is a safe, fun activity that should be available to anyone who wants to participate. It is true that trick-or-treating is a practice most commonly enjoyed by younger children, and that is something that deters a lot of teens from partaking. Some teens see this as childish or uncool. Some teens are in a rush to grow up. But that is a decision that should be left to the individual. There are plenty of teenagers out there who are not ready to let go of their childhood. And why should they be? They are kids by law and they should be kids at heart. It is wonderful if they can still get joy out of a simple activity like this. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that people of all ages enjoy dressing up and eating candy.
No grown up likes being grown up. Many adults reminisce on the days of their youth, wishing they could go back to that time of innocence where they could get enjoyment out of something like trick-or-treating, even if it was just for a day. 13-year- olds should not have to feel that way. Why would anyone want to rob these kids of an extra few years of innocent fun?
It is not the school’s, neighbor’s or the government’s place to tell people when and how to grow up. The government has no business deciding who can and cannot participate in a non-government run activity. If this is allowed, what is next? Banning kids over 12 from opening Christmas presents or getting candy on Valentine’s Day? It is beautiful if teenagers want to stay in touch with their inner child and celebrate this incredibly popular holiday in a safe and fun way. It is actually rather grown up of a teenager to choose to trick-or-treat if they really want to. They are being true to themselves instead of conforming to their peers’ or society’s idea that they need to be all grown up by 13.