Flipside: Tricks or treats for teens?

Bryn Chambers and Tate Peterson

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For teen trick-or-treating: Bryn Chambers

There’s nothing wrong with going trick-or-treating as a teenager. Some may say that teens are way too old, but legally, they’re still kids. If you’re in high school, especially if you’re a  junior or senior, it’s likely you’re struggling to figure out what you’re too old and too young to do. While some teenagers may view these years as a time when they can’t participate in either end of the spectrum of activities, why not take advantage and do both?

It’s one thing when teenagers show up to houses in normal attire expecting candy, but if they actually make an effort with their costume, give them some treats. When you discourage kids who are just trying to be, well, kids, you make them think they have to be adults. They don’t, and they’re not. Instead of viewing teens trick-or-treating as some nuisance, why not see them as kids trying to have innocent fun? After all, they’re not at parties getting drunk or high or vandalizing anything. They’re not the kids TP-ing houses or soaking kids with water balloons or playing pranks on little trick-or-treaters. They’re just taking advantage of their last chance to not be completely immersed in the “real world.”

Most importantly, when teens go trick-or-treating, they show little kids that it’s OK to trick-or-treat as teens, too. A simple compliment on a costume from a teen on the street will make those kids feel on top of the world. Kids try to grow up too fast, and they look up to teenagers. By allowing teens to trick-or-treat, you give kids the idea of the norm as teens.
Besides, if you really don’t want to trick-or-treat in your teens, then don’t. Go to a party, pass out candy, stay in and watch horror films— but don’t shame teens who are just trying to enjoy Halloween.

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Against teen trick-or-treating: Tate Peterson

There’s a certain age when it’s an adequate time to stop engaging in a holiday activity meant for children. It’s perfectly fine for someone to get excited for Halloween. When Halloween comes around, it signifies that fall is in full force but trick or treating is a different story. Trick or treating is the part of the holiday that is meant for kids and kids only; it starts to become a little strange when much older kids are still participating in a holiday ruled by the younger ones.

When teenagers and even some younger adults participate in Halloween it can ruin the whole experience for the younger kids. As a kid, I recall thinking that the much older people who were out trick or treating were dressed in much scarier costumes and they usually acted obnoxious (stealing others candy, taking more than one piece of candy from a bowl that says “only take one,” etc.), which made trick or treating less fun on such a special holiday for children. The older people out trick-or-treating don’t seem to pay much attention to the little ones who are just trying to enjoy themselves, and I think us older teenagers should try our best to make this holiday special for the younger kids. We should be someone they can look up to, not someone they are afraid of.

The most important aspect of this argument would have to be how the holiday affects the health of different age groups. I know candy is not healthy for people at any age, but teenagers have a higher tendency to binge eat and having access to a load of candy is not necessarily the best of ideas (trust me, it’s not easy turning down a tempting pile of candy). It makes sense to enjoy access to free sweets for a couple of years, but eventually it becomes time to act mature and set aside the candy.

Although trick or treating is definitely a highlight of my childhood and I’m sure the same could be said for many others, the tradition should come to an end at a reasonable age. There are much better things for us teenagers to be engaging in than walking around getting candy.

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