I used to love Halloween. As a parent, I mean. What's cuter than little kids in costumes? Nothing! Little kids in costumes are awesome, and their joy over dressing up and getting mini Kit-Kats is its own reward! I even loved Halloween the year I decided I could easily make my daughter a costume, even though I really don't sew and am not crafty at all. I loved Halloween while I followed the "easy" costume directions, stabbed my fingers repeatedly, and swore a blue streak about the difficulty of sewing fake fur. I loved all four Halloweens that that homemade skunk costume was worn. (Twice by my daughter, twice by my son. With all of the hours that went into it, you bet I made sure we extracted the maximum value from that particular getup.)
I loved the Halloweens of licensed characters ("I'm Buzz Lightyear, Mama! TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!") and I even loved the more recent Halloweens of clever play-on-word costumes. (What do you get when you attach a bunch of fuzzy Easter chicks to a regular outfit? A chick magnet!) I have loved a lot of Halloweens, is what I'm saying.
But now? Now I am completely over Halloween.
Halloween is this weekend, and neither of my children have settled on a costume. My son (in 5th grade) wants us to make plans to go trick-or-treating with some friends of his, but he can't decide what he wants to wear. I'm not particularly looking forward to an evening of tromping around just so that he can get all jacked up on sugar. My daughter (7th grade) wants me to make her a costume, but she's not sure what, and also can't I please just drop her off with friends and then cease to exist?
"Aren't you a little old for trick-or-treating?" I ask her.
"What? That's like asking if I'm too old for candy. Which I'm not," she assures me.
I don't know what the accepted etiquette (if any) is, at this point; I do know that when kids my height come to my door begging for candy, I do think they're too old to go around begging for it, particularly as many of them don't even wear costumes once they get older. Some cities are banning teenage trick-or-treaters altogether. Call me a curmudgeon, but when a teen shows up with a bag and no costume, I always ask what they're dressed up as. And if they shrug or otherwise confess to not being dressed up, I tell them to come back once they're willing to work for their candy. I usually draw the line at telling them to get off my lawn, but c'mon. Put a little effort in, kids.
So I'm pretty much over it. I want to tell my son to make a decision and make it good, because this is his last year of elementary school and it's nearly time for him to give up this yearly ritual. And I want to tell my daughter to just buy herself a bag of Skittles and call it a day, but she claims that all of her friends still trick-or-treat, Mother, and I have no idea what I'm talking about.
Bah, humbug. Or perhaps it should be: Bah, gummy worms.
Other bloggers weigh in on Halloween and older kids:
- Amy Mullis waxes hilarious about the options for her and her grown children.
- Jackie Layer of Fowlerville High School states her case for high schoolers still trick-or-treating.
- Free Range Kids has a few things to say about The Today Show's advice to parents on the acceptable age for kids to trick-or-treat without parents.
- And just because babies on Halloween are always timely, and singing babies (and dogs) are way more fun than contemplating my middle schooler's costume needs, check out Annie's Halloween Quandary for an overdose of cute.
BlogHer Contributing Editor Mir is in your candy stash, stealing the dark chocolate. She blogs near-daily about issues parental and otherwise at Woulda Coulda Shoulda, and posts all day long about the joys of mindful retail therapy at Want Not.
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Do you have older kids? Do they still trick-or-treat? Honestly, are you over it? Watch the video and share your thoughts in the comment section.
As NBCs Peter Alexander reports, police in Belleville, Ill., want to make sure Halloween turns out to be more treats for little ones and fewer tricks played by teens.