Is There a Maximum Age Limit for Trick-or-Treating?

With Halloween festivities reaching a fever pitch across the United States, many families are wrapping up their costume preparations, replenishing their candy stockpiles, and adding the final spooky touches to their home decor. In the coming days, legions of children will be buzzing from door to door, collecting and subsequently devouring a treasure trove of sweets. Amidst all this, a pertinent question often comes up – ‘Is there a maximum age limit for trick-or-treating?’ This queries whether there’s an unspoken cut-off age for kids to participate in this beloved tradition.

The concept of a minimum trick-or-treating age is irrelevant when children are young. Even the tiniest gourds have fun donning costumes on Halloween. And what preteen doesn’t enjoy sneaking around in the dark in search of ghosts and goblins? Tweens and teens often get a bad rap from holiday traditionalists who believe the great candy grab should be limited to children.

Read this before allowing your older children to go out trick-or-treating this year.

Minimum Age for Trick-or-Treating

Many people think it’s rude for teens to go door-to-door on Halloween asking for food. Trick-or-treating is restricted to those of a certain age in some communities. Honestly, yes.

For instance, in Chesapeake, Virginia, trick-or-treating is restricted to children under the age of 14, and anyone caught engaging in the practice who is beyond the age of that is subject to a Class 4 misdemeanor prosecution. Similar rules prohibiting trick-or-treating for those above the age of 12 can be found in other Virginia cities like Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Norfolk. In Newport News, children aged 12 and up can follow younger siblings without restriction, provided they do not wear masks.

For almost 30 years, New Jersey’s Upper Deerfield Township residents have been warned against allowing children older than 12 to go door-to-door seeking candy on Halloween. In Belleville, Illinois, where the holiday is officially known as Halloween Solicitation, kids older than 12 aren’t allowed to wear masks, and visitors in ninth grade or higher are banned from the city’s streets, highways, public residences, private homes, and public locations.

Charleston, South Carolina, follows suit by banning masks and trick-or-treating for anyone over the age of 16.

There is obviously no easy solution to the question of what the “official” trick-or-treating age should be across the country. Many parents of preteens and teenagers disagree with the age restrictions some municipalities impose in the name of public safety. Parents of small children may worry that their children’s enchanted night will be marred by rowdy teenagers who, if not trick-or-treating, maybe up to more risky activities on Halloween night.

Do you feel your adolescent is ‘too old’ to try Trick-or-Treating with you?

Families may not have much flexibility in deciding when to end trick-or-treating in areas with age restrictions. Instead of taking your adolescent child trick-or-treating this year, you may arrange a party and enlist them to help hand out candy.

However, it can be difficult to decide when older children should be allowed to opt out of school if given the opportunity. Registered psychologist and author of Parenting Right From the Start, Vanessa Lapointe, advises parents to consider the subject carefully before broaching it.

Think long and hard about whether you’re making this decision for the sake of your child or the sake of the individuals passing out candy, who may judge your youngster to be too old and give you a filthy look. Children’s opinions and desires should be taken into account whenever possible.

Dr. Lapointe advises parents to look at each child separately when deciding if the enchantment of Halloween has worn off. Due to the fact that no two children are alike, it may be several years before two kids of the same age are done with trick-or-treating. One thirteen-year-old would like to spend Halloween night passing out candy with parents, while another might rather dress up and go trick-or-treating. Avoid making generalizations based on someone’s age.

Dr. Lapointe emphasizes the need to provide for the needs of children with disabilities. Many children with special needs actually have a significantly slower rate of growth than their age would suggest. The emphasis here is on developmental rather than chronological age. On Halloween, if you get a knock at your door, be kind and invite the visitor in. Also, be flexible and believe that the parents have made the right decision by bringing their child out for the evening because not all developmental gaps are obvious.

How Old Do They Have to Be to Go Trick-or-Treating Alone?

When is it safe for youngsters to go trick-or-treating by themselves? is a question many parents have around Halloween. While going out trick-or-treating with a group of friends can be a lot of fun and a great confidence booster for youngsters, some parents may decide that the extra concern isn’t worth it.

Think about the range of options your child will face. From navigating dark, bustling streets full of excited trick-or-treaters to making conversation with older teens or adults having a different kind of Halloween fun. Again, local laws may prohibit children from going out on Halloween, but this option should be carefully considered if it is allowed.

It’s possible that parents will think about entrusting their children with a mobile phone. Having the option to check in on your child and knowing they can reach out to you if they’re having trouble could help ease your worries.


Every kid, no matter how young, should be able to participate in Halloween festivities, but it’s up to their parents to teach them appropriate boundaries. The end of childhood does not occur at a specific height or age, and we should all keep that in mind because every family and every child is unique.

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