Candy-givers: Trick or Treat teenagers better

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. Dressing up in elaborate costumes, running around with friends at night, and receiving bags of free candy have always made me eagerly await the coming of October.

But with each Halloween, the judgemental glares from suburban moms become increasingly noticeable, as apparently more and more people grow reluctant to give out candy to people taller than five feet. Still, growing up, I never paid attention to their disapproving looks.

The Halloween of 2015 was the year it all changed. Stepping up onto a brightly lit porch, wearing a stethoscope and scrubs that I borrowed from my mom, I rang the doorbell and held out my bag, ready to be showered with candy. Instead, I was coldly met with a dismissive sigh and the single phrase, “Milking it while you can, huh?”

Hearing those words felt like a slap in the face. It felt like the end of an era. It felt like I was a grown-up pretending to be a child, instead of what I was actually supposed to be—Christina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy.

But most of all, hearing those words come out of a parent’s mouth made me realize that my childhood was virtually over, and that I was quickly on the way to adulthood. Those words forced me at an all-too-soon age of 14 to pack up my costumes and become an adult, one who wasn’t allowed to partake in “childish” activities like trick-or-treating anymore.

In some cases, teenagers aren’t even legally allowed to perform this Halloween tradition at all. Several cities in Illinois, Virginia, and Mississippi have enacted trick-or-treating age limits that anyone as young as 12  years old from trick-or-treating. Anyone in those cities who looks remotely older than a middle-schooler on Halloween night could be slapped with a fine of $100.

I didn’t even know an age limit could be put on trick-or-treating, a seemingly inclusive activity. Can there really exist such a law that bans people from enjoying Halloween?

Apparently so. Laws that discourage teenagers from trick-or-treating make us feel like our time for having a childhood has ended.

And that’s not the case. Teenagers are so often reminded of our responsibilities and our futures and our grades and the pressures put on us that we forget we’re not even adults yet. We don’t have to constantly be working. We don’t have to always be worried about our grades or our next test. We don’t have to completely grow up just yet. Our lives don’t have to be molded around the idea that we’re going to be adults soon. It’s okay for us to balance out our responsibilities by spending Halloween, one single night out of an entire year, holding onto a small part of our childhoods.

By putting on a costume on Halloween, we put aside our homework and stress for one night. It’s a day we can finally relish in the fact that we aren’t grown-ups yet.

Sometimes, we just need to feel like kids again.

Last year, I accepted my fate as a teenager and stayed in watching movies, trying to convince myself that trick-or-treating was lame and that I didn’t even want to go anyways. But this year, I’m going to indulge in the fact that I’m not an adult. I’m going to put on a costume. I’m going to walk around with a bag in my hand and my friends alongside me dressed in equally stupid costumes, I’m going to stuff my face with candy and I’m going to be a kid.