Trick-or-Treat!: Some American Towns Ban Teens from Halloween Pastime

Halloween teens
Getty Images/SrdjanPav

As children across the nation ready their costumes for Halloween, the question of how old is too old for trick-or-treating has resurfaced.

It is against the law for some teenagers and adults to enjoy the activity in some American towns, however, many residents do not agree there should be an age limit, NPR reported Monday:

In one famous example, Chesapeake, Va., until recently had a 1970s law on the books threatening any teen caught trick-or-treating with up to six months in jail.

The city changed the law after a massive backlash. But its statute still says kids over 14 who trick-or-treat are guilty of a misdemeanor.

An ordinance in Taylorville, Illinois, says it is illegal for those over 13 to trick-or-treat on Halloween, News Channel 20 reported Friday.

However, the spooky holiday does not have an age limit, according to neighbor Gail Lum, who told the outlet, “I would be happy to give out candy to anybody that’s over 13 because at least they’re out trick or treating and not getting into trouble somewhere.”

Lum also said, “It’s a wholesome activity, and parents that allow them to or even accompany them when they go, we get out of our children what we put into our children. So take the time receive the older trick or treaters, they’re just still kids.”

In October 2022, Detroit’s WXYZ asked residents about the issue, and one woman said, “I think they should never stop trick-or-treating. I’m on my way to get some candy now,” she commented while gesturing towards a storefront.

A man said, “I’m 63 and I feel you should never stop trick-or-treating,” while another told the outlet he felt children should stop participating when they are nine years old.

The NPR report concluded many adults believe “there’s nothing wrong with clinging to childhood, especially if teens are willing to wear a costume and stay out of trouble.”


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