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Are we too old to trick or treat?
October 1, 2009 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Halloween's my favorite holiday, and I love trick-or-treating. Problem: my Mom just told me I'm too old.

I'm in my late 20's. Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year, and my favorite thing to do is to see other people's costumes who love the holiday, which is generally kids and families (not as into the Halloween parties where everyone either has an ironic non-costume, or is a sexy _______ and drinks a lot).

I trick or treat every year. Usually, my boyfriend and I put dozens of hours into our costumes, and we always get tons of compliments on how great our costumes were. They are always interesting, handmade, family friendly costumes (not scary or sexy).

But I'm now in my mid-20s, verging on late 20s. I haven't ever thought there was a problem with me trick or treating as an adult as long as you a) let the kids go first, always and b) have a really neat costume but my Mom tells me every year that I'm too old to be trick or treating. No one has ever said this to us while we were out and about, and no one has ever seemed to be uncomfortable with us trick or treating (which I've always assumed had to do with us having cool costumes).

I told her I'd poll a rather outspoken online community about it this year. What do you guys think?

PS- We're in L.A. and don't have any friends who like Halloween. We've tried going to parties, but we not really into drinking or super loud music. I'm sure there are awesome parties that we'd love, but we haven't found them, or other people who are as into Halloween as we are. Trick or treating always seems to be the highlight of my month. Our home is not on a street with much kid traffic at the holidays, so if we stay home, we see maybe 4 trick or treaters.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (137 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Late 20s? You were too old 10 years ago. Sorry.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:44 PM on October 1, 2009 [35 favorites]


Too old. Go to someone's home that has a lot of kids in the neighborhood and help give out candy in costume.
posted by useyourmachinegunarm at 12:44 PM on October 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


would it be possible for you to join up with a children's group, like through the Y or a church or a school, where you and your bf can act as chaperones along with other adults.

then you could still have awesome costumes and not have to worry that people might be thinking it's weird you're asking for candy. or at least your mom woulnd't worry :)
posted by sio42 at 12:45 PM on October 1, 2009 [18 favorites]


If you don't have kids with you, you're too old.

Are there any kids you can rent/borrow/steal for the night? I like when adults w/ kids are also in costume and I'm happy to give them candy or beer.

Adults without kids is just creepy. Listen to your mother.
posted by bondcliff at 12:45 PM on October 1, 2009 [9 favorites]


Does LA have a parade? NYC has a great Halloween parade- it's what us grown-up folks who want to show off our costumes do.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:46 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry but yes, you are indeed too old to be trick or treating alone. My mother broke me of the habit by telling me it was illegal for anyone 13 or older to do, but if an adult came to my door and asked me for candy I'd wonder what was wrong with them. Seriously.

Perhaps you can find a way to enjoy it such as finding charities where you can volunteer to take children trick or treating (and you don't get any candy but you get to see them enjoy the evening and you can dress up).

You live in LA, there are many other socially acceptable places for you to costume on days that aren't Halloween. Every year at San Diego Comic Con just 2 hours south of you people costume daily, all types of costumes, anything you'd want to be. And while you wouldn't get candy, if your costumes are as rad as you suggest you would be in thousands of people's memories and photos.

I'm sure there are other cons, renfairs, etc. that you could partake in.

But stop begging for candy door to door. Now.
posted by arniec at 12:46 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Volunteer to take a relative's or neighbour's kids out trick or treating. You'll have fun, and you'll give the grateful parents a couple hours' respite from excited and sugar-addled kiddies.
posted by LN at 12:46 PM on October 1, 2009


Good news: You are young at heart! Hooray for candy!

Bad news: Being young at heart has nothing to do with the cut off age for trick or treating, which is 12. Boo for senescence and the ineluctable march to death's sweet embrace!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:48 PM on October 1, 2009 [33 favorites]


Late 20s? You were too old 10 years ago. Sorry.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:44 PM on October 1


Totally completely wrong. Candy is cheap as fuck and no one gets pissed off at adults trick-or-treating if your costumes are awesome so you go and have fun and don't let anyone tell you different.

"oh no i just gave two adults a three-cent handful of candy beans"
"but they were dressed like megatron and starscream"
"oh that's right hooray for them"
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:48 PM on October 1, 2009 [65 favorites]


Consider that people are simply being polite. You're definitely too old.

You could set up a haunted house, though. In our neighborhood there were two houses where the adults set up cool activities. One had an extensive pathway through their front and back yards with cool scary things, activities, etc. The other was a fortune teller. She dressed up as a witch and had a card table set up at her front door. Instead of candy, you'd get your fortune, or your palm read, etc., it was a blast.

There are lots of cool ways you can still be involved, in costume, as an adult.
posted by odinsdream at 12:49 PM on October 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Around here they start giving you a hard time if you are in high school and still trick or treating. A common tactic was to make the older kids sing for their candy, especially if their costume was lame.
posted by utsutsu at 12:49 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nth-ing you were too old when you reached 13.

I really like LN's idea or helping out others' kids.

Or you can be one of those cool adults who decorates their house and comes to the door in costume.
posted by j at 12:50 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


You need to find better Halloween parties, with people you're own age and older. My group's costumes rarely come close to scary or sexy, unless you think Lego minifigures are sexy. Perhaps our nerdiness and engineering know-how separate us from other late-20-somethings.
posted by muddgirl at 12:50 PM on October 1, 2009


Some friends of mine and I went Halloween caroling a few years back - dress up, get some friends to do the same, take a boom box if you like, and sing Halloween songs at peoples' doorsteps.
posted by lorrer at 12:52 PM on October 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


I say do what you want and no one really cares all that much. If you're into dressing up in zany costumes, a few people staring at you and judging you due to your age should not be a problem.

However, I'm sure there are many ways to associate with a group as a chaperon, and I think that would solve a lot of problems at once.
posted by Think_Long at 12:52 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Way too old. Do what everyone else who loves Halloween, doesn't have kids, and hates parties does: Go to a friend's house where you get lots of trick or treaters and hand out candy. In your awesome costumes, you'd be a big hit.
posted by meerkatty at 12:52 PM on October 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Nthing that you should try to borrow some kids for the night. Or volunteer to chaperone. Then you'd get to show off a great costume as well as getting that warm fuzzy feeling of helping out your community. Win win!!
posted by Go Banana at 12:54 PM on October 1, 2009


I also say you're too old, but I think the volunteering with children idea is a great one.
posted by caveat at 12:54 PM on October 1, 2009


Really too old. Find a party or volunteer maybe to take some kids whose parents are working that night.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:55 PM on October 1, 2009


I trick-or-treated through my late 20s so you're not the only one. I know I was too old but it makes me happy. I also make awesome Halloween costumes which often take a month or more to make. Its not so much the actual candy as the experience—and I don't have kids or groups of kids to go with. This year I am throwing my own party since no one else seems to appreciate the holiday as much as I do. Maybe you should do the same?
posted by Bunglegirl at 12:57 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


High school or above is too old.
posted by decathecting at 12:58 PM on October 1, 2009


Update: There actually is a law in some towns, including Belleville, IL. In Belleville the limit is 8th grade which is normally about 13 years old.

So in some places it's not just common sense, it's the law.

Per the article, apparently older people, especially seniors, were frightened by older people trick or treating afraid that they weren't legit.

So not only are you too old, you're scaring old people!
posted by arniec at 12:58 PM on October 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


How about going trick-or-treating and handing out candy instead of asking for it? If a couple showed up at my place in kick-ass costumes and gave me a Snickers I would definitely get a good story out of it.
posted by Benjy at 1:00 PM on October 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'd think it seriously weird if someone over age 16 came to my door on Halloween in any capacity other than babysitter/chaperone to age-appropriate trick-or-treaters.

Why not host your own Halloween party? If you have friends with kids, you could even do a family-friendly halloween party.
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:01 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The appropriateness of this, were you to come to my door, would be whether or not you hit a certain "coolness / age" ratio. If you're five, two eyeholes in a sheet is fine. If you're thirty-five, I expect an awesome costume.

Have little kids with you, though, is a free pass.
posted by adipocere at 1:01 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why don't you host a halloween party, invite friends, give out candy? On the one hand you should do what you want, on the other hand, you may creep people out. You are old enough that you will be seen as eccentric at best.
posted by xammerboy at 1:02 PM on October 1, 2009


Well, I'm always one to admit when I'm wrong and the onslaught of peer pressure here has changed my mind about the issue. Apparently I'm the only one who wouldn't be bothered by it. You have to go to a party, throw a party, or be a candy hander-outer rather than a taker. Sorry.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:03 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think you're only too old to go trick-or-treating if you think you're too old to go trick-or-treating.

If it's something you enjoy doing, is not illegal and neither harms nor unduly perturbs anybody else, I don't see the problem with your continuing to do it. And so far as I know, there aren't any hard and fast rules preventing people from dressing up in costume and getting candy once they reach a certain age.

Adulthood would be a lot more colorful if fewer people left this kind of whimsy by the wayside.
posted by killdevil at 1:03 PM on October 1, 2009 [11 favorites]


If you want free candy that night, go to an indoor mall where they pass out candy at the entrance of each store. If you want to wear a costume -- how casual is your workplace? Last year half my office dressed up. I didn't, but I brought my camera and took pictures of everyone.

But sorry, you're too old to be trick-or-treating.
posted by moonshine at 1:03 PM on October 1, 2009


Yeah, you're too old. If you don't get many trick or treaters where you live, you could do what we did in high school, which was dress up and walk around the neighborhood handing candy out to kids. Or you can dress up and take a bunch of kids trick or treating - that's always a lot of fun, large parties of adults and kids all in costume. Other than that, it's parties or bars or parades - trick or treating is for kids. I would be pissed off if adults I didn't know came to my door on Halloween looking for candy, seriously, and I wouldn't care how great your costumes were.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:04 PM on October 1, 2009


Yeah, you need to be handing out candy or standing behind rent-a-kids when THEY get candy. You don't get it yourself.

If you came to my door as 2 adults alone, I wouldn't open it, you'd freak me out.
posted by tristeza at 1:04 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are usually costume contests at big clubs, bars or community events. You don't have to drink. I used to work in an area with lots of bars, and it was fun to work Halloween just to see all the costumes.
posted by theora55 at 1:11 PM on October 1, 2009


Probably technically too old, but honestly, so what? You put some effort into it and obviously enjoy it - it's not like you slap on some sheets and call yourselves ghosts and try to scam handfuls of free candy.

That said, I kind of love the idea of taking candy and handing it out as you "trick or treat" - that would be pretty cool.
posted by KAS at 1:13 PM on October 1, 2009


Why not just take long walk around the neighborhood, without the whole knocking on doors thing? You get to see costumes and be seen, and people will just assume you're on your way to some cool party.
posted by orme at 1:14 PM on October 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


I would think it was cute if two well-costumed adults came trick-or-treating. But I seem to be in the minority here.
posted by tamaraster at 1:15 PM on October 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


If you're old enough to have asked this question, you are too old to trick or treat.
Most people decide for themselves that they are "too old" somewhere around 16 or 17. Then when they get a few years older they get nostalgic for Halloween or dressing up, which is what leads to "adult" costume parties.

You guys should probably have your own kids as soon as possible so you can skip all that and go directly to living vicariously through your children, which is 100% socially acceptable.
posted by judge.mentok.the.mindtaker at 1:16 PM on October 1, 2009


Here's a spin on reverse-trick-or-treating that I got a kick out of. I grew up in a college town, and one Halloween our doorbell rang and we opened the door expecting to see trickortreaters-- but what was in front of our open door--was another door! Like, a full-on wooden door, that had a sign that said "Please knock." So we did, and the door swung open to reveal a bunch of college dudes dressed as really old grandmothers, curlers in their hair, etc, who proceeded to coo over our "costumes" and tell us we were "such cute trick or treaters!" One even pinched my cheek. Then THEY gave US candy, closed their door, picked it up and walked to the next house.

It was amazing.
posted by np312 at 1:18 PM on October 1, 2009 [1181 favorites]


np312, that is AWESOME!!
posted by Go Banana at 1:22 PM on October 1, 2009


The only reason to be alive is to enjoy it. It is a basic human desire to have fun. Please do so. You will have plenty of time for dignity when you are your mom's age. Oh, and don't be your mom.
posted by netbros at 1:24 PM on October 1, 2009 [16 favorites]


I think it kind of depends on where you are - I grew up in a residential neighborhood near campus in a college town, and while most of the trick or treaters we got were neighborhood kids, there were always a few groups of college students. My father wouldn't give them candy if they didn't have costumes or were otherwise jerks, but anyone into the spirit of the thing wouldn't have seemed out of place on our front porch.

Then again, my father was pretty into the holiday himself - he'd drag out his collection of actual gravestones (salvaged from an ancient local monument carving company) and set them up on the front lawn, put buckets of dry ice all around the porch, and sit there in a Victorian greatcoat and a devil mask playing the banjo by candlelight.

So, maybe stick to houses that look like they're into the spirit of the holiday too?
posted by bubukaba at 1:25 PM on October 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


way way too old to be trick or treating. Imagine if every person in their late 20s went trick or treating..it would ruin it. Trick or treating is for kids and it should be that way.

and if you do take a kid out, sure dress up a bit, but don't take candy...that's for the kids.
posted by mattsweaters at 1:31 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


My first thought was, "yeah, too old." But you know what? It sounds like you have a lot of fun doing this and I really don't think it's that big of a deal. I don't get trick-or-treaters where I live, but if I did, I think it would be fun and unexpected to see a couple of adults show up at the door in elaborate costumes. I like the idea mentioned upthread about you handing out treats instead of taking them.

Or, you can go to the West Hollywood Costume Carnival. I went in '06 and I think you would have a lot of fun. There were tons of people there, mostly adults, and everyone was dressed up. No one will think you're weird there!
posted by kitty teeth at 1:32 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am really conflicted on this.

On the one hand, I think that—in a vacuum—what you are doing is awesome. Really. I really like Halloween too.

On the other, you're not in a vacuum. People could reasonably interpret it as deeply inappropriate, or completely misinterpret it. You don't have the opportunity to explain "we're not creepy, or developmentally delayed, or anything like that."

I'd advise finding some other way to express that Halloween enthusiasm. Several have been suggested.
posted by adamrice at 1:34 PM on October 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Its not Halloween it Samhain; its not trick or treat it's Guising - if you can come and see where it all came from in Scotland and Ireland. If you want to keep up the dressing up and partying indefinitely you should become a pagan.
posted by rongorongo at 1:35 PM on October 1, 2009


I dressed up for Halloween well into my thirties. Of course, I had kids most of that time so trick or treating was a breeze for me. I didn't go to the door of course, that was my children's job, but I had the adventure of dressing up and going out into the community. However, when my ex husband had the kids for that day I still dressed up because darn it, Halloween is my favorite time of year and I was not going to let anyone take that away from me.

Don't let anyone take it away from you. Dress up, but find something else to do. Reverse trick or treating is great. It's not about getting candy. It's about sharing the experience with the community.
posted by patheral at 1:39 PM on October 1, 2009


You're too old to go trick-or-treating.

The torch has been passed on to your generation. You must now give out candy (rather than receiving it), preferably in costume.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:39 PM on October 1, 2009


Does LA have a parade? NYC has a great Halloween parade

The costume parade about a 2 minute walk from my front door is the largest Halloween party in the world. The outfits range from street clothes to the most elaborate costumes you've ever seen.
posted by Justinian at 1:40 PM on October 1, 2009


Well, some people just plain don't like old trick-or-treaters. However, I think there's more people that hate freeloaders - teenagers that barely have a costume that are just trying to score candy. If the costume is good, I think a lot of people will appreciate you visiting.
posted by ignignokt at 1:42 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just dress up and walk around, you are too old (saying this as someone the same age who also loves candy) to be trick or treating. The trick or treating is for the kids, if some 20 somethings or teenagers for that matter come up on my porch they are probably getting nothing from me, but to all the kids I will be giving out full sized candy bars because I am a baller.

I suggest that if you dont want to walk around, then make your house the trick or treat destination for your street, or hold the kind of Halloween party you would want to attend.
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:44 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Take your awesome costume and go to CalArts's Halloween Party (so legendary it has a Wikipedia entry), or the WeHo Party mentioned above. KCRW is throwing a big Halloween bash this year too.

You're way too old to be trick or treating. There's tons of fun grown-up things to do on Halloween, especially around this area.
posted by stennieville at 1:45 PM on October 1, 2009


You need to turn your trick-or-treating hobby into another hobby, such as designing a haunted house or some other kind of community activity. Or at the very least, volunteer to take actual children trick-or-treating, where you can go with them and actually supervise them. And you're just supervising in costume.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:45 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Going against the grain here and asking how old is too old? Usually every Hallowe'en thread contains complaints from folks saying "I bought all this candy and only had a dozen trick or treaters come to my house...." It's not like you're taking away candy from babies - most folks end up with a surplus of treats. OK, I'll admit it - I was 28 years old the last time I went trick-or-treating. No one knew who I was or how old I was, however, because I wore a rubber mask that completely covered my head. Some of the teens who were out begging were much taller than me, so there was really nothing about my appearance that gave away my age. I took my booty to work in the weeks afterward and placed it in a big bowl on my desk, and everyone helped themselves. A year later almost every co-worker asked me "Um, are you going trick or treating again this year? That candy was really good....."
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:46 PM on October 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Nobody I know would give away free candy to adults who rung our doorbell on October 31. It has nothing to do with being "young at heart" or a "free spirit" or "really, really into your costumes." It has everything to do with this holiday, and specifically this particular aspect of this holiday, being a kids' thing. I mean, what the hell is it you like so much? Candy is cheap...surely you can afford your own. If you want to "show off" your costumes, you can indulge your exhibitionism at a party or just on the streets without bugging people in their homes.

I mean, what if the person answering the door didn't buy candy for adults? Now you've put them in a very socially awkward predicament. They might feel pressured to give free candy to you, even though they didn't buy it with that intention. Or they might have to be rude to a complete stranger and turn them away. It's not so far from just walking up to someone on the street and asking them for a sawbuck. Sure, they can probably spare it...but you're a jackass for doing it to them.
posted by aswego at 1:47 PM on October 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh, and one year, at the very tail end of the night, a lone 14-year-old girl dressed as a fairy showed up and shook her tits at me when I opened the door. Creepy and disturbing. Don't be this girl.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:47 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The fact that you posted this anonymously speaks volumes to me. You already know you're too old to Trick-or-Treat. It's time to borrow some kids for the night and help them have a lot of fun - every kid I know LOVES it when the adults with them dress up for the night. So either do the reverse Trick-or-Treat (and how awesome is that?!) or escort some kids around or hand out candy at a friend's kid-populated neighborhood.

FWIW, if teenagers come to my door, I will only give them candy if a) they've got really good costumes - and I don't mean the typical teenager's half-assed fairy wings or hobo crap, b) they actually say the words "Trick or Treat!" enthusiastically, or c) have smaller children with them. I have never seen out-of-high-school-aged people Trick-or-Treating. Sorry.

And I don't think that by stopping Trick-or-Treating you're embracing old age or becoming stuffy or bowing to peer pressure. There are just things that are meant for childhood and when you become an adult sometimes you have to make adjustments. Keep dressing up, keep having fun. But just don't go door-to-door any more.
posted by cooker girl at 1:51 PM on October 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Too old. I certainly wouldn't give candy to an adult that I bought for kids. Won't anyone think of the children???!!!
posted by Atreides at 1:51 PM on October 1, 2009


Sorry, but I also think you're too old. Then again, this comes from someone who wasn't allowed to trick-or-treat after she was 10 or 11.
posted by Aleen at 2:02 PM on October 1, 2009


Yeah, way too old. It would creep me out if actual adults came to my door. If you are old enough to even be in high school, you're too old. Can you borrow some kids? Then it's at least forgivable.

Costume-wearing is cool, though, and Halloween activities are cool as long as they are actually for adults. Why don't you do that and then go hang out at the West Hollywood festivities, or go to Knotts Scary Farm all dressed up or something? You know, like grownups do.
posted by charmedimsure at 2:08 PM on October 1, 2009


It's not that you're too old to have fun and dress up, you're just too old to be asking for candy.

So dress up and do one of:

1. Stay in and hand out candy (not much fun IMHO)
2. Wander around and hand out candy (more fun). We saw teens do this last year in a business district Halloween function. Theater/drama folks, great zombie costumes.
3. Go door to door *giving* candy. Kinda neat for the opposite-world aspect, but the grownups (giving out candy) don't want the candy so much as the kids do.
4. Chaperon a group of kids. This is fun too, and gives a parent a bit of a break.
5. np312's awesome suggestion

Basically you want to be wandering around but not asking for candy.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 2:10 PM on October 1, 2009


I don't know what is wrong with (almost) everyone above.

- Is 27 too old for ME to go trick or treating? Yes.

- Is 27 too old for YOU to go trick or treating? Apparently not.

- Might it irritate some people? Might they say mean things about you when you leave? Do they have the right to refuse treats and openly mock you? Might they call the cops, who will ignore their complaint? Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.

As long as you are one in a million, and not part of a growing trend, I say keep it up. When you're 85, call the local TV stations and they'll do a feel-good story about the old lady who hasn't missed a Halloween since 1989!

-
posted by General Tonic at 2:11 PM on October 1, 2009 [15 favorites]


I managed to keep going until 17 by using a mask and using the rounds as an opportunity to collect canned food for donation. I'm totally backing you up on this, though: no one should be too old to dress up and ask for candy.

You'd think college campuses would be more open to older Halloweening. Y'know, student-filled neighbourhoods where young people who have just left the 'acceptable' age range can still indulge, because they live amongst people who feel the same way. But no: for some reason, young adults replace candy with booze.

I'm done.

A very weak alternative is to raid your local grocery store on November 1st and snatch up all their half-price candy. For the ultimate Halloween experience, buy even candy you don't like. Dump it all in a brown grocery bag. Pig out.
posted by spamguy at 2:13 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I vote for too old. Maybe you can look into going to a local hospital and handing out candy to kids that are stuck in the hospital on Halloween? You can still be dressed up and you will be providing a great service to the hospital and joy to the children, especially if your costumes rock. You could even bring little items for the kids to wear, like headbands with animal ears, magic wands, etc. To be fair, my last year trick or treating, I dressed up as the color "Green." I was 12 and no one understood my costume. I gave up after that.
posted by fyrebelley at 2:14 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm really disappointed by all the "too old" comments. Read this xkcd strip, listen to Optimus Chyme, do what you want to do, and ignore all the damned fogies trying to define acceptable modes of recreation.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:16 PM on October 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


You're in LA. Go to Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood, and consider auditioning to be one of the costumed creatures next year. My niece, also in her twenties, has done this in Orlando and had a ball.
posted by misha at 2:32 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


damned fogies trying to define acceptable modes of recreation

No one is saying that the OP is too old to like candy, costumes, or Halloween. The issue is that by actually going out trick-or-treating she's expecting her community to allow her to play a role many (or even, I'd guess most) members consider reserved for children--children trick-or-treat, adults pass out candy or attend parties. I think those of us on the "too old" side of this debate are trying to express how uncomfortable it can be when adults put themselves in childish roles or behave childishly rather than channeling whimsy and playfulness into age-appropriate activities.

I've known quite a few adults who love Halloween and find fun ways to celebrate every year without actually going door to door trick-or-treating without kids. (Personally, I wait for the seasonal candy to go on sale the week after...)
posted by Meg_Murry at 2:33 PM on October 1, 2009 [12 favorites]


Once you're a teenager, you're too old to trick-or-treat. It comes off as being about the candy. It's great that you're so into your costumes, but you should find another forum to show them off and enjoy the holiday.
posted by Dasein at 2:36 PM on October 1, 2009


I agree with MrMoonPie and Optimus.

Last time I went Trick or Treating, I was 17, which is apparently too old for 80% of the people in here. However, that was the first time I'd done so since 14, which is also too old for about 80% of the people in here.

You know what, don't let other people define you. And giving out candy isn't the same thing, there's no momentum to it, so all those suggestions won't replace the fun you're having. You could host your own party though.

But hey, if reaction thusfar has been positive, keep on. Have fun, don't stop being yourselves, and enjoy your candy.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:38 PM on October 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yes, sorry--I think you're too old. I'd be pissed if you came to my door asking me for candy.

If you want attention for your costume, there are lots of great ideas upthread, and you might really want to go someplace that offers actual prizes for great costume ideas.

If it's for the candy, buy it November 1 when it's all half price. Let the kids get the free stuff.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 2:38 PM on October 1, 2009


"The appropriateness of this, were you to come to my door, would be whether or not you hit a certain "coolness / age" ratio. "

I agree with adipocere. If you've obviously spent weeks/months and it is a truly awesome costume, I would smile and give you candy and merely think you were a little kooky. Or, more likely, just wanting to show off what you'd created to win the costume contest at a party later that night. But if more than 2 (or 2 couples of) twentysomethings showed up at my door expecting candy, I'd start to grumble. Unless they were handing out treats--I'd be ok with that. And if you were collecting for UNICEF (do kids still do that? yes, I guess they do) I'd be ok with that, and give you some candy too.
posted by K.P. at 2:39 PM on October 1, 2009


Nthing the suggestion that you should be giving out candy in costume. I think it should actually be more fun for you.
posted by snofoam at 2:42 PM on October 1, 2009


I pretty much gave up trick or treating after 8th grade or so; I have a blurry memory of going with friends when I was in what must have been 10th grade, and the strongest part of that memory is walking around thinking that I was too old for this, despite my sweet-ass costume. (I was an un-accounted-for Soviet nuclear warhead. Fuck your ghosts, THAT's scary.)

The years in high school when I handed out candy, I was always kind of weirded out by older kids who came to the door, especially if they were older than me. I never had a real adult (like you) come up, but I think it would have made me extremely uncomfortable.

But making someone momentarily uncomfortable is not a cardinal sin; I mostly remember handing out candy as a time to catch up on reading, so I obviously wasn't traumatized. You won't hurt anybody, so do whatever the hell you want. Just realize that some people will be very put off, and that even if they are outwardly polite, you may be putting a (very small) dent in their Halloween.

fyrebelley, I totally understand. In sixth grade I went as a hole in the ozone layer; EVERYBODY thought I was a star. So maybe I'm just grumpy.
posted by Commander Rachek at 2:49 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am all for whimsy, generally speaking. However, if an unaccompanied adult or two knocked on my door on Halloween night, I'd be inclined to answer the door not with candy, but with a baseball bat and 9-1 entered on my phone.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:01 PM on October 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Way too old to be trick-or-treating, sorry...

In one neighborhood where I lived, the non-party-going adults who really wanted to dress up and have fun just walked around the neighborhood in their costumes, chatting with people and stuff, just not actually going door-to-door.
posted by sarcasticah at 3:05 PM on October 1, 2009


Piling on: Waaaaay too old. Volunteer to take some kids out.
I would not give candy to adults who didn't have kids with them. When you're old enough to buy your own candy without asking your parents, you're WAY too old to trick-or-treat.
posted by ishotjr at 3:19 PM on October 1, 2009


All in all, you are too old. But if you are going to break convention and go, your age is directly proportional to how good your costume has to be. If you're going in your 20s, it better be sweet. Otherwise, people will just think you are doing it for the free candy.
posted by starman at 3:19 PM on October 1, 2009


I dunno about trick or treat, but you are definitely too old to let your mom tell you what you can and can't do. Which is to say, yes it's unusual, but if you enjoy it and it's not hurting anyone, who cares??

re: parades, there is the WeHo parade, which is a huge collection of adults in costume. However if you're adverse to drunk people and risque costumes, I can see where it might be your cup of tea.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:33 PM on October 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


might *NOT* be your cup of tea
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:34 PM on October 1, 2009


Can you do something like Trick or Eat? Maybe they let non-students join or maybe there's another organisation for non-students? I've done this a few times with a student society and it was lots of fun. You still dress up, go door to door, get lots of candy anyways even though that's not what you're asking for, and you get to act all grown-up and charitable! We collected a very impressive amount of food this way; you might want a car to shadow you.
posted by carolr at 3:36 PM on October 1, 2009


My LORD what a bunch of killjoys. Go! Enjoy! If you need a socially acceptable excuse, find some kids who need 'supervision' and be the most awesome chaperons ever. I shudder to tell you people what I still do for fun, and I'm 43.

Yeikes.
posted by Space Kitty at 3:44 PM on October 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


You should REVERSE trick-or-treat.

You get nice candy that adults would like but kid's aren't so fussed on (like After Eights or something), and you get all dressed up and go out and knock on doors and ask people if they would like a trick or a treat. And then you give THEM a treat.

We did this one year by accident - we had a whole lot of candy, but no kids were coming by. We went over a few streets to give candy to the kids, but I said we should also Hallowe'en carol by singing songs about the Great Pumpkin - and then that led to offering the candy to the adults who were stuck in their own houses handing out candy. Most were surprised, but all were grateful, and ever so much more gracious and thankful than the kids were. This is one of the nicest things I've ever done - I got to show off my costume, and I got to have the fun of trick-or-treating which is really about being out at night doing silly things.

And it's especially in the spirit of hallowe'en, which should be a night of carnivalesque subversion of norms.
posted by jb at 3:54 PM on October 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


While I'm on the subject, what you're too old for is worrying about your mom's opinion of how you spend your free time.
posted by Space Kitty at 3:54 PM on October 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Dude, I was 13 the last time I went trick-or-treating. My friend and I were scolded for it by more than one candy-giver.

Sheesh. Dress up and stay home to give out candy, or go out and party like an adult.
posted by sunshinesky at 4:22 PM on October 1, 2009


I'm a single mother of a toddler and so my take is probably a bit different. Yes, I think it's really silly/embarrassing that someone in their late 20s wants to trick-or-treat, but it's also a safety issue for me.

If I'm home giving out candy to kids and then two costumed adults came to my door, I'd be really freaked out. Think about it. You're in costume, you are much too old: I would think that something bad was happening or I was in danger. I'm probably in the minority since I'm so protective of myself and my child, but it would scare me.

Also, if you just follow other kids around, that would seem almost more creepy to me.

You are an adult. You can still get dressed up and have fun. Give out candy in a friend's busy neighborhood, take other kids out, find a mellow get-together with friends. But seriously, WTF.
posted by Lullen at 4:55 PM on October 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


You're too old to be trick or treating.
You're too old to have mom telling you what you should or shouldn't be doing.

Sorry to have to tell you this, but, you're an adult now.
posted by 2oh1 at 4:57 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you want to find tons of fun Halloween stuff to do, check out meetin.org
posted by 2oh1 at 5:00 PM on October 1, 2009


Please do this. Especially if you are short.
posted by twins named Lugubrious and Salubrious at 5:38 PM on October 1, 2009


Halloween is my favorite holiday too (and I'm 25), but sorry, you're too old. As a kid (and, in your case, beyond), you benefited from kind adults giving you candy, and now it's basically your turn to pay it forward to the next generation of kids (assuming you live in a house or apartment where you could get trick-or-treaters). If you must go, find someone whose kids need a babysitter for the evening or something.

Props on not being into the sexy _____ costumes though. Those are so lame.
posted by naoko at 5:41 PM on October 1, 2009


you are way too old to be out trick or treating.

i wasn't allowed to go after 5th grade (so, like 10 or 11?).
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:16 PM on October 1, 2009


Too old.

But I think the cut-off age is 15, not 13.
posted by small_ruminant at 6:26 PM on October 1, 2009


If you showed up at my door I'd expect the guys with butterfly nets to be close behind.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:01 PM on October 1, 2009


Ask your mom if you can have a Halloween party.
posted by Linnee at 7:03 PM on October 1, 2009


If you're old enough to drive to the store and buy your own Halloween candy, you're too old for Trick Or Treating.
posted by ErikaB at 7:40 PM on October 1, 2009


Listen to your mother.
posted by Bonzai at 7:53 PM on October 1, 2009


You are old enough to buy your old candy. You are too old to Trick-Or-Treat. (On preview, good point, ErikaB!)

Find something else to do with your awesome costume. Go to Halloween parties or start your own. There are tons of fantastic things you can do on Halloween that involves dressing up and eating candy. But there is absolutely NO reason for you to be showing up on strangers' doorsteps, demanding candy that is intended to be given to children. It's like a grown up being upset if Santa didn't leave them gifts--there are certain traditions we as a society have for kids, and you're just gaming the system in an inappropriate way.

If you came to my door, I'd be pissed. I'd be scared. I'd be confused. I'd probably spend the rest of the evening feeling a little weirded out and annoyed that someone perfectly old enough to have their own job, their own home, and their own candy thought they had the right to ask me for my candy. I want to give to cute little kids, not some grown-up.

But let me reiterate: there is certainly plenty you can do with all the creative energy you want to put into a Halloween costume. Really, you put the time and energy into it, and you can make something fantastic... Just then find something to do with it that doesn't involve an activity meant for five-year-olds. (My suggestion would to become the awesome person who sets up some fantastic display/scene on their porch/lawn so that getting candy from their house is an experience of its own. Those were always the most fun houses.)
posted by Ms. Saint at 7:54 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread made me sad...I'm all for people having silly fun, and I'm suprised that the response was so overwhelmingly negative. If someone your age came to my door in an awesome costume, I would might think that he/she were kind of nerdily into Halloween but I would be amused and happily give out candy.

But after having read all the nay votes, the idea may have lost its appeal for you- so yeah, maybe you'd enjoy yourself more giving out candy, setting up a haunted house, or going to some sort of parade/artsy party. If you really love trick-or-treating, maybe you could volunteer at a school Halloween fair or homeless shelter or do something that involves kids, costumes, and candy? Or just find an actual kid or two to bring with you...maybe a friend or relative's kid?
posted by emd3737 at 8:07 PM on October 1, 2009


Too old. High school is okay, but pushing it. Past high school, um, no.

Trick-or-treating is for children. I doubt you wish to be treated as a child generally. The traditional way to reconcile a love for trick-or-treating is to find yourself a niece or nephew or neighbor's kid and take them trick-or-treating. You still get to dress up and walk around, but you have an more adult role.
posted by desuetude at 8:22 PM on October 1, 2009


Yeah, another vote for 'too old'. I don't mean to say that you're too old to dress up and either hand out candy or walk around to see the kids in their costumes.. or if you're a chaperone for a child. You're never too old to dress up and celebrate Halloween!! But for adults (or teenagers, even) to go door-to-door sans kids looking for candy for themselves.. no. Nothing wrong with dressing up and escorting kids, but don't assume you get candy, too. Then again, if some people happen to be be impressed with your costume, they might tell you to take candy for yourself, but that's at their discretion.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:24 PM on October 1, 2009


I'm in the minority here, but just the excitement in the tone of your post sold me; I think if you enjoy something that much, you should just do it. I mean, if you came to my door, I'd probably think you were both a little special in some way, but that's almost a plus, in terms of people not judging you or being freaked out by it.

One suggestion sparked something for me, though -- in the business district near our house, there's a Halloween street party, where the streets are closed to car traffic and the businesses have (employees? volunteers?) hand out candy. It's a chaotic scene, in terms of the numbers of people, but it's all children and families, not a drinking/sexy ___ scene. If that's what you're into, it would be a great way to dress up and either hand out or collect candy, see everyone else, and experience the holiday the way you like.

I wonder if anyone familiar with LA knows of a business district that throws a street party like that -- kid-centered?
posted by palliser at 8:33 PM on October 1, 2009


You're enthusiastic about this -- great!
You put a lot of prep time into it -- great!
You have a partner-in-crime that feels the same way as you -- SO AWESOME!

Seriously you should be incredibly grateful for that because no matter what it is (quirky or not), it's hard for a lot of people to find someone like that to connect with.

Instead of saying you're too old, I'm going to say that you're never too young to start doing awesome things to your home. I'm hoping someone with your level of excitement their own residence in a neighborhood that gets lots of kids.. but it's more than likely you live in an apartment.

The only time I've ever seen an apartment complex hold some sort of special Halloween shindig for kids was when I lived in a complex where your main door was on the interior of the building so the kids could just roam around the halls going to the doors with the appropriate signage handed out to residents beforehand. If you live in an apartment complex I'd see about using their facilities to help host a part if they wanted to have one. Given that each place is different it's hard to say what is capable in the space they have, but you're obviously full of ideas so I'll leave that up to you.

Going door-to-door is great and all, but as a kid, the very best part of Halloween was to see the adults go all-out (yard decor, music, dry ice, strobe lights, shadows in the windows). Besides the old woman that always gave out dimes, those are the only people I remember and even as a youngster I knew that I'd probably be too much of a stickler as an adult to do something like that.

I was right; I am too much of a stickler. But you have a passion for something and a lot of people just aren't vocal about the fact that it kind of weirds them out to see two full-fledged adults trotting around the neighborhood. Even in all-out, awesome garb I'd probably lean towards the fact that you and your partner might have a screw loose. Y'know what though, that's okay. That's what makes life interesting. However, the neighbors don't think so and might think you're some sort of pedophiles.. who knows; neighbors! lol!

But seriously, perhaps it's time you take the ear-to-ear grin you have surrounding this holiday and make it something more than the ol' T-o-T. Scratch that itch and use it to help others have fun. Hell go a few steps further, see what it takes to rent a place and start up your own thing - perhaps use it to start a class teaching kids how to make their own costumes leading up to the holiday or making decorations and then holding a party there with an admission fee for those who did not attend the class that goes towards charity. Candy and charity, can't go wrong there.
posted by june made him a gemini at 9:30 PM on October 1, 2009


I missed the section that said you live in a house but it's on an off-street of sorts.. regardless perhaps a friend who lives in an apartment could look into it if that's what you so choose.
posted by june made him a gemini at 9:32 PM on October 1, 2009


I'm in the camp who says go ahead if you're in costume...part of the fun of Halloween is to see how people decorated their places. That said, people might feel more comfortable if you bring kids along.

When I was a kid, I didn't think that the stoners who would show up at the end of the night deserved anything but they still got candy.

There was one year I only wanted to trick-or-treat at the neighbors I knew and was appalled by my grandmother (not in costume) going up to someone's place and demanding something. This was about thirty years ago.

The West Hollywood Halloween must be within the last 20 years; I never heard about it when I was growing up. I've read that the night was traditionally the only one out of the year pre-Stonewall that cops would leave gays alone.
posted by brujita at 12:42 AM on October 2, 2009


I think if you enjoy something that much, you should just do it.

This is soooo not a good all-round philosophy of life, especially when it involves adults in strange costumes randomly showing up at the doors of strangers. Or to put it another way: You're my wife now, Dave...
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 3:17 AM on October 2, 2009


I'm with those who would be freaked out. Halloween isn't so big here in Oz, we've had the odd 1 or 2 kids knock over the last couple of years, but adults in costumes knocking on my door would make this single mum extremely wary. Well, I wouldn't open the door, to be honest. Do you get a high rate of people who are 'not home', despite cars being parked outside, etc?

How could you resist doing what np312 said? I would be too intrigued to not open the door, if a bunch of people moved a portable door plus doorframe in front of MY door (but I do have the benefit of big windows that prevent anyone sneaking up unseen, giving me time to arm myself in case of nasty surprises).

The door-stunt/reverse-candy-thing sounds like a seriously spectacular way to have fun. Do that instead.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:25 AM on October 2, 2009


Not to be snarky, but would it be acceptable for you to get your picture taken sitting on Santa's lap at the mall? I am all for having a good time, but when adults do things that are almost exclusive to kids, it will be perceived by the majority as either weird or criminal. People don't like weirdos or criminals being near their kids.
posted by jasondigitized at 6:08 AM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, you're "too old" to go trick-or-treating. But not too old to enjoy Halloween. And there are some great ideas here (especially np312's). I'm sure will suit your fancy.

Personally, I like scaring the kiddies. I decorate the house (tombstones, body parts on the lawn, etc.), play scary music, make a "jello brain" for a gag treat - the whole deal. And the kids (and the parents) really seem to enjoy it. This year, I've got friends coming over to help. Not sure exactly how we'll do it all, but it will probably involve; randomly popping out from behind things, giving out "bad" treats (granola bars, raisins) for the older kids not in costume, etc. And I'm in my forties, so go figure.

Enjoy!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 6:32 AM on October 2, 2009


Yes, you're too old for Trick or Treat. If you want to be perceived as creepy and eccentric, by all means go ahead. You may as well start sucking your thumb while you check your mail. Just let it all hang out.
posted by autodidact at 8:30 AM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The 15 year old kid scowling at me while he takes a big handful of Milk Duds, while wearing a t-shirt that says "Boo"? Too old. Happy, friendly people of any age wearing a creative costume? You're fine.

I am distinctly outnumbered here though, so go to parade.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:38 AM on October 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow, 13 is too old to trick-or-treat? No wonder there are hardly ever any trick or treaters out anymore. Judging by the walk-to-school threads, 13 is also too young to be out without parental supervision. Back in my day, nobody blinked at high school students, as long as they actually bothered with a costume. Post-high school, unless you're in a college town, would probably finally strike me as too old.

Granted, I would have stopped at 15 or so, except that some of the younger kids on the street were only allowed to trick-or-treat after dark if they found a trusted older kid to walk with them. Since that had been my older brothers' neighborhood role before me, I inherited the job. (And didn't mind doing it, anyway.)

I'd go with borrowing some kids to escort around. I gather you don't have friends with age-appropriate kids, but you might be able to volunteer for a local community center.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:36 AM on October 2, 2009


You should go, because it sounds like you'll have a great time doing so. And whose evening are you going to ruin? Apparently the people who "didn't buy candy for adults." I feel bad for those people, but I don't think you're their problem.

Don't take too much candy, though. The older kids who piss me off are the ones who have crap costumes and take advantage of their larger-than-a-10-year-old's hands by grabbing entirely too much candy.
posted by jermsplan at 9:50 AM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Found this from reverse-trick-or-treating sidebar. That is indeed brilliant, but you could do your own reverse trick or treat, and hand your host/victim a full-sized Clark bar or some such, and say, "this is for the next real kid."
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:32 AM on October 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Now that you have grown into adulthood, you have joined the ranks of people who are capable of purchasing their own candy. Congratulations! This, in my estimation, is one of the many unalloyed goods of being an adult. The only time you get another crappy tootsie roll is when you want to get a tootsie roll. And don't get me started on the smarties!

This is one of those things you have just gotten too old to do. Other things you are too old to do may include: peeing your pants in kindergarten, asking your mommy to wipe you when you are done on the potty, having big sister tie your shoes, asking daddy to push you on the swing. You are now allowed to: drive, smoke, enjoy sexual relations with other consenting adults, pay taxes, and stay up as late as you like. Yes, there are trade-offs. Yes, sometimes it doesn't seem fair. As many others have mentioned, you are now able to enjoy trick-or-treating vicariously. Take some kids you like and watch how cute they are. It's funner than you might think.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 10:35 AM on October 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Youre probably old enough to cause alarm in people of a certain mindset, and you're too old by societal mores, but there are great suggestions here that you could try. I think it's a shame, myself. Nobody should be too old for going around in costumes on a holiday and getting candy and having a good time with other people in their own neighborhood, where they live and spend their lives. The only reason it's frowned upon is because nobody knows each other anymore, and even more tragically, nobody really WANTS to.

I give candy to every single person who knocks on my door on Halloween. I call the adults to my door from their respectful, non-creepy place at the gate while their appropriate-age children hold their bags up hopefully and give them candy, too.

Hell, there are times when I'll just give candy to people who knock on my door or happen to pass by while I'm looking in that direction no matter what day it is. Occasionally in the summertime I'll wander around my neighborhood laden with bags of homegrown tomatoes (I hate 'em, but love to grow 'em) and foist them upon unsuspecting neighbors who might be crossing the street just then. It just never fails to make people smile and talk to me, and especially with the tomatoes they are usually thrilled to death about it.

People wouldn't be anywhere near so creepy if we only bothered to take the time to know them. A good way to start doing that is by giving everyone candy.
posted by perilous at 12:12 PM on October 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


perilous, an address is required if you are in fact offering us free candy. we will find you.
posted by Think_Long at 3:39 PM on October 2, 2009


Similar to lorrer's suggestion above, go with a group as Christmas carolers, and when people open the door, sing Christmas carols. The smaller kids who saw this got a really puzzled look on their face due to crossed Holiday wiring in their brains. Asking for candy isn't cool once you're old enough to have a job.
posted by benzenedream at 4:32 PM on October 2, 2009


I'm in LA, I'm 27 myself, and I would not personally go trick-or-treating without children in tow.

BUT...

If a couple my age came to my door, in really cool costumes, and were clearly enthusiastic about the holiday and not seeming like they're in it just for free candy, I would consider it one of the better Halloween experience of the night.

I think your enthusiasm for the holiday and your courage to do something you love and enjoy despite it being outside of a cultural norm is awesome.

Like most holidays, I think that more emphasis should be on the GIVING part, not necessarily the CHILDREN part. I wouldn't have a problem sharing candy with people just because they're a certain age.

However, there's also been a huge decline in the number of trick-or-treaters in my area, and I usually end up with a ton of candy that I don't want to eat myself. If this were not the case, if there were more trick-or-treating children out there than candy I was able to buy, I might be more inclined to say...yeah, think of the children. But that's not the case at all in my area.

There's also been a lot of great suggestions in this thread about how you and your boyfriend might consider your own role in the "giving" spirit of the holiday.
posted by Squee at 5:39 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think you're not too old, and that it really comes down to your enthusiasm about the holiday and your costumes that makes it not creepy. I think the people who think it's all about the candy are missing the larger point of the ritual. Of course you can buy your own candy, but it's not the same as when you knock on someone's door and celebrate the holiday with them for a moment of glee. At least that's how I'd see it if you came to my door. I'm weird but I always thought of the ritual as somehow sharing the fruits of the harvest with people, even strangers. And that is fundamentally joyful.

I am sad that many here seem to be tightwads over a $3 bag of candy (come on, I know metafilter skews towards the educated and well-employed - I just saw a thread the other day where people were aghast that someone dared to think that a $53,000 a year salary was a good one. Gee, that's more than twice what I make, and I'd still happily buy tons of candy for adults if they'd dress up and come to my door in a spirit of celebration).

I hope you have a great time this Halloween, whatever you ultimately decide to do. I think the ideas of volunteering to help chaperone kids are good ones. Maybe a battered women's shelter would be another charity-type thing to consider helping.

And I'm just going to throw this out there - for people in Austin, be sure not to miss F street in Hyde Park between around 43rd street and a few blocks south. Some really awesome displays there and lots of friendly people and delighted kids.
posted by marble at 6:27 PM on October 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


That xkcd strip MrMoonPie mentioned is one of my all time favourites. However they made their own ball room and didn't try and jump in it while all the little ones tried to play in it.

Some things should be just for kids. And some things, like pushing the envelope at age 14 to see how many places still give you candy, should be for adolescents. That's part of the magic for the younger kids; they get goodies while the grownups can only watch.

Anyone past early high school and you get no Cadbury's from me. Even if that gets the house TP'ed.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:39 PM on October 2, 2009


Well, in my parents' neighbourhood, I remember people having "good" (high quality) and "bad" (cheap) candy. The good stuff -- chocolate bars, etc -- would go to the little kids, and there would be other stuff (suckers, hard caramels) for older kids (think high school). The line drawn seemed to be end of junior high.

I think we informally follow a similar policy. I might be a bit weirded out by an identifiable 27-year old coming to my door, but you know better than I do whether gussied up you look cool -- or menacing. That makes a big difference. Do what you want, but be aware that swimming against the social stream can make for a few unfortunate experiences; add children in to the mix and some parents get freaky and/or dangerous. Be careful.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:05 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


My boyfriend went trick or treating when he was 20, on a dare. At the first house he went to the lady who answered the door asked for his I.D. At that point, you're too old.
posted by chana meira at 12:37 AM on October 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I decided I was too old for trick-or-treating (at about age 14), I joined up with a church group who collected canned goods for the foodbank. Typical response:

*knock*knock*
*door opens*
Home-owner: I'm sorry, but you guys are way too old to be trick or treating, you won't get any candy from me!
Us: no, no, we're collecting food for the food bank, do you have any non-perishable items?
Home-owner: Oh, well, yes, we do
*goes to get cans of soup, KD, etc*
Home-owner: And here, take some candy too, you are such good kids!

This way I could give back to the community AND end up with a bag full of candy too! :D
posted by Planet F at 3:33 PM on October 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Too old.

Even if you're wearing the most awesome costumes ever, and your astounding enthusiasm for the holiday is so contagious it fills everyone with joy, and even if you're offering me expensive candy in gold-leaf boxes, you're still grown adults with costumes concealing their identities knocking on the door of my house when it's dark.

Creepy as heck.
posted by mmoncur at 2:39 AM on October 4, 2009


If any adults come trick or treating to my house, they'll be getting Jack Chick tracts for their troubles.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:54 AM on October 4, 2009


From 1982-1985, my family lived very near to an American military base in northern England. We're Americans and my parents taught school on the base but we lived off-base in a tiny British village just down the road.

Trick-or-treating was a very big deal on the base. The American kids knew to dress up and go door to door. it was one uniquely American custom that reminded them where they're from and the entire base celebrated it in its own unique way.

Because we lived off-base, we have numerous British kids as neighbors. On November 1, they eyed our candy hauls with jealousy and asked where we'd gotten it from. We explained to them what Halloween was and they proceeded to rush home, threw together some costumes and started going door-to-door on November 1, asking old British pensioners for candy -- only to discover that at every single door they had to explain 1) what Halloween was, 2) the whole concept of trick-or-treating, and 3) wait for the old British pensioners to find some kind of candy or treat inside. After about half a dozen houses our British neighbor kids gave up saying it was just too much work. We happily shared our candy hauls with them and promised that the next year we'd invite them onto the base to go trick-or-treating with us.

Addendum: I have no idea of Halloween is a more celebrated holiday these days in England. Back in the early 1980s, not many people in northern England knew what it was or celebrated it. The American culture and traditions are much more global these days so I would not be surprised to learn that Halloween and trick-or-treating has jumped the pond and become an accepted holiday in England the rest of Europe.
posted by camworld at 5:30 AM on October 4, 2009


My mom and I dressed up every year with my little sister and my younger female cousin until I was off at college and couldn't get away easily. We did Blues Brothers, Peter Pan, Lion King, just about anything. Even came away with prizes a couple of times at the local Halloween festival.
posted by deezil at 7:17 AM on October 4, 2009


perilous, an address is required if you are in fact offering us free candy. we will find you.
posted by Think_Long at 3:39 PM on October 2 [+] [!]


You find me, you get candy. Or tomatoes. Or maybe even punkin pie or spice bread or linzer tarts. Depending on where I am, what season it is, what I've been up to, and how broke I am. Just knock on my door, and make sure you're not a homicidal psycho, because that's just a drag.

If you bring your dog, I'll be even happier to see you (and he gets a treat too).
posted by perilous at 2:52 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, here's what you do. It will involve a little planning and lying. And you need to find some friends who have a kid who will be willing to go along with this. Before Halloween, you and your boyfriend get all dolled up, and get the kid all dolled up, too. Pose (in costume) with the kid (in costume) in his bed, looking sad. On Halloween, go out trick or treating. When people open the door, say "Trick or treat. This is our little guy. He's sick at home with his grandmother. We didn't want him to miss out, so we're here in his place." Show the picture. If the people who answer the door have costumes or the place is decorated or whatever, ask if you can take pictures because "the decorations are his favorite part".

If this happened to me, I wouldn't think twice about adults trick-or-treating without a kid.

(When you are done trick or treating, give the candy to the kid who pretended to be you sick kid.)
posted by 23skidoo at 3:33 PM on October 4, 2009


There are some seriously uptight people on here. Wow, I had no idea.

You're never too old for ANYTHING. Seriously. If it's something that brings you joy, then do it. You're not hurting anyone, and you're bringing just a little more happiness into the world through your childlike enthusiasm for the holiday.

Don't let other people try to tell you what is and isn't appropriate. It says volumes about what their hangups are and how important it is to them what others think of them.

If you came to my door in an awesome costume, I'd totally give you candy. Follow your bliss.
posted by MythMaker at 4:19 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


normally, i would have said 'too old', but the talk of 'halloween caroling' gave me the idea to go christmas caroling...on halloween. it kind of only works with adults. now i've got to talk some adults into it...and find a hideous christmas sweater. and earmuffs.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:55 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


There may not be a book of rules for this, but I bet almost all homeowners (including your mom) think you're too old to be out knocking on their doors to ask for free stuff, because they figure it's something like Christmas and the Easter Bunny, something you ought to somehow believe in if you're going to get the rewards. I'm sure a lot of people put up with Halloween (the interruptions and the begging) only because it's to make little kids happy; when full-grown adults start showing up, they aren't going to be very happy.

On the other hand, you're also too old to be listening to your mom, and what is there to believe in on Halloween? The Great Pumpkin? Fuck it. Go out and trick or treat. Just try to join up with some little kids so people will think you're a mom or aunt or big sister.
posted by pracowity at 7:11 AM on October 5, 2009


Be respectful of others and keep on keeping on. Good for you and your boyfriend.
posted by es_de_bah at 9:42 PM on October 5, 2009


Yeah...we've started turning the lights off at our house after about 8pm, because after that hour, it stopped being little kids, and started being pretty scary grown-size boy/men. They all had the vibe like they were scoping the neighborhood to see who to rob.

We also got some people in their 30's who didn't even bother to put on a costume, just wandered house to house with a pillowcase...it's those folks that have got our neighborhood talking about not doing trick or treat in the street anymore, but instead doing it at the neighborhood community center. Which would suck...but I totally understand why people are kinda freaked out by the traffic we're seeing in our area now.

TLDR; Adults make home owners nervous on Halloween.

Do a Trunk or Treat at your local church, or check the comic shop for "happenings" or whatever...but yeah, you're too old to be trick or treating. That said; I'd still give you candy if you came by in a costume.
posted by dejah420 at 7:07 PM on October 6, 2009


Add me to the "creepy" vote total. If adults came to my door alone looking for candy it would be cause for alarm.

I have a confession to make, though: I hate the tradition of sending children door to door asking strangers for candy. Kinda sends a mixed message on the whole "stranger danger" issue.
posted by rcade at 7:35 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think those of saying "too old" are necessarily uptight or have hangups. I think it's great for adults to hang on to some little bit of childhood throughout their lives. But just because you WANT to do it, or might have fun doing it doesn't make it age-appropriate.

I'm not really into Halloween, but a few years back I told all my friends who were dressing up and going to Halloween parties and parades and bars to stop by my place for "adult trick or treating". Instead of candy I had Mini-bottles of booze and shotgunned beers on my doorstep. I thought that was an idea worth spreading, but it didn't really catch on.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:49 PM on October 6, 2009


TLDR; Adults make home owners nervous on Halloween.

That's part of the Halloween spirit. Halloween is scary. Go have your fun, as long as you're doing things in a way that are potentially fun for others too. I like some of the recommendations in this thread about giving out candy along the way, etc.
posted by hermitosis at 4:35 PM on October 11, 2009


You are too old--but do you have any younger cousins or friends with children that you could accompany? I think I'd be weirded out if an adult showed up on my doorstep.
posted by uptowngirl at 11:50 AM on October 23, 2009


I would say that it's perfectly ok to trick or treat at the houses of friends you know well. This means you may have to walk or drive a bit, but the point isn't to see how much candy you can get right? You just want to share in the joy of the fun of Halloween.

How bout this - if you live in an area where you don't know your neighbors very well - why don't you go trick or treating to their houses but instead bring them a bag of goodies (or cookies or baked goods), with a little note saying Happy Halloween. If you actually give your neighbors something you look much less odd and much more into the spirit of the holiday.

Having once lived in an area where we had many older kids/young adults trick or treat - and some not in costume - well, it seemed pretty creepy. We were once warned that some of these older trick or treaters were actually trying to see how many people were at home and get a look inside our house and at the locks on our front door. (We did have our house broken into at one point, though not during Halloween.) Even if that wasn't the case some of these older kids were definitely just out for as much free candy as possible - and tried to grab a whole handful of candy rather than just a piece or two. This sort of thing definitely makes Halloween less fun for those of us answering the door and handing out candy to strangers.

Another tip - if you do ignore all the "this could seem creepy advice" - do not go up to strangers doors after 9pm. The later it gets the more weird/threatening what you're doing will seem to people who don't know you.
posted by batgrlHG at 4:43 PM on October 29, 2009


Let me add - I do not think you're too old to dress up and celebrate this holiday - I've done that myself even if I haven't gone trick or treating or to a party. But I'm thinking of it from the perspective of someone having to answer their door to complete strangers and hope their motives are good - after all, these are now strangers who know where I live. (That's a kind of fear I can do without, even on Halloween.) It's normal to be a bit wary in this instance. Those of us saying that it's creepy are not trying to rain on your parade - just let you know that the world is such that you'll look suspicious to others.
posted by batgrlHG at 5:00 PM on October 29, 2009


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