Too Old To Trick Or Treat?


Meredith Yardley ‘20

Residents of Hollis and Brookline take time out of their day to put up some grand decorations to encourage the Halloween spirit. Unfortunately, some pesky high schoolers have torn down some of these decorations over the years, leaving those who took the time to put them up very discouraged. “You get the kids that throw eggs at the houses, throw eggs at cars. You have kids take [decorations] from people’s yards and put it in the middle of the road,” said Officer Bob Pelletier.

TJ McKenna, Asst. Sports Editor

Let’s take ourselves back a few years, back to one of the biggest days of elementary school: Halloween. We dressed up as our favorite fictional characters and paraded around the school, showing off our costumes to all the parents as they took an unnecessary amount of pictures as we eagerly anticipated the end of school. Once the clock struck six, our excitement peaked: it was trick or treating time. We would set out with our friends, on a mission to find the house with the full size candy bars. But soon, the enemy would arrive: the older kids. 

The middle and high schoolers brought the fright on Halloween night. Their scary masks and evil laughs terrorized us as little kids, but why? Not all of the older kids were mean and scary, but when we saw older boys steal a younger kid’s candy or jump out of a bush to scare a ten year old, as some questionable show of power, we would stereotype all of them as evil because of our fear.

As the years have passed, we are now those scary older kids, so is it time to face the fact that we are too old to trick-or-treat? 

Josie Farwell ‘20 is an emphatic believer in ‘living while we’re young,’ and although Halloween may not be her favorite holiday, she still makes sure to celebrate the festivities to their fullest. “I think the fun shouldn’t have to stop at a certain age. As long as you’re in high school, you should still be able to have fun all the time,” said Farwell. 

As fun as it is to trick-or-treat, young adults need to make a mature decision on Halloween night. We may not realize it, but being out there can unintentionally ruin the fun for the younger kids who haven’t had the opportunities to enjoy this annual gathering as many times as we have. By trick-or-treating at an older age, we leave less candy and less space for the youngsters, who the holiday is really meant for. Often times, houses who do not buy enough candy will run out before the end of the night because they have to distribute more sweets. 

Matthew Wojcik ‘20 has had first hand experience with this issue. “I find it somewhat obnoxious when I have to give older teens candy,” said Wojcik. 

Wojcik lives in the epicenter of trick or treating for Hollis-Brookliners, and has had many encounters with high schoolers on Halloween night. He has run into this problem of not being able to provide younger kids with candy, as he is his family’s designated door opener on Halloween night. 

A problem that comes with high schoolers trick or treating, that makes running out of candy look negligible, is the safety hazards they present.

Since trick-or-treating takes place at night, the opportunities for some mischievous teens to vandalize, harass, and commit more wicked acts are drastically increased. Of course, not all older kids are taking part in this harassment, but it is the few who do that have created this stigma on older kids out on Halloween night. Officer Bob Pelletier of the Brookline Police Department weighed in on this situation. “You get the kids that throw eggs at the houses, throw eggs at cars. You have kids take [decorations] from people’s yards and put it in the middle of the road. A lot of the older kids are going around scaring the younger kids, stuff like that,” said Pelletier. 

This safety hazard can be unintentional as well though. With such a wide age range of children out and about on Halloween, accidental injury is very possible. “Some of them ride their bikes, skateboards, and maybe even scooters in the dark so they could potentially hit a kid if they were not paying close attention,” said Wojcik. 

The truth of the matter is that teenagers’ time to trick-or-treat has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean the celebration has to end. Halloween parties are a perfect alternative to trick-or-treating, as they still allow teenagers to indulge in the festivities. Dressing up in costumes, watching scary movies, and making cookies with your friends can be equally as fun, if not more fun than going out and getting a little bit of candy.

A possible solution to this safety issue is moving Halloween to the last Saturday of October. The current debate argues that children would have a much safer holiday as the trick or treating hours could be moved earlier in the day, allowing the activity to occur with the sun still out. A Saturday Halloween would also allow students to stay engaged all week in school and would no longer have to struggle with the post-Halloween fatigue. Officer Bob Pelletier agreed with this proposition and said, “I believe it should be held on a Saturday in the afternoon, like from 1-4. The safety issue is that all these kids at night are walking in the streets and people are still coming home, driving and it’s hard to see these kids at night time if they don’t have any reflective gear on them. That’s our main concern, it’s about cars speeding through town.”

As sad as it may be, high schoolers really should not be trick-or-treating anymore. It is important that younger kids have the experiences teenagers were once able to have as kids, and are able to do so safely.