Ok, so I don’t want to be a stick in the mud, but I think there comes a point at which people are too old to trick or treat. Now I don’t have a problem with teenagers coming to my door with their hands outstretched for candy. I work with teens every day and I know that despite the fact some of them can drive (and vote–yikes!), they are still very immature and there’s not much they won’t do when free candy is dangled in front of them. Heck, let’s not lie here…there’s not much I won’t do when free candy is on the line. If they go through the effort of putting on a costume, even if it’s just a stupid ax murderer mask and haul their butts around the neighborhood, I say more power to them and fork over the candy.
I will admit that on occasion I have rolled my eyes and later complained about a kid who was obviously old enough to shave (and drive) banging on my door dressed in his high school letterman’s jacket and a football jersey. Something you wear on a regular basis hardly seems like a costume. Then again, one year I dressed up in a friend’s cheerleading uniform (it was a school uniform from the previous year) for a party. Anyone who didn’t know me probably would have thought I was one of those lame kids. But for me, it really was a costume as I generally took all precautions to hide my body and there was no way I’d ever yell “rah-rah” in front of the entire school. So, I even cut those kids some slack. They might be borrowing a buddy’s outfit, and like me, be completely uncoordinated when it comes to anything sports-like.
I also try never to judge the older kids who show up on my doorstep on Halloween night. For all I know they might have also had uber religious mothers who never let them go out clutching their favorite pillow case to raid the neighborhood for tasty fun size candy bars. Maybe they too got stuck spending the Halloween’s of their youth either at a church fun fair dressed as Raggedy Ann or a character from Little House on the Prairie* or passing out tracts to any unfortunate child who rang our bell. Yes, that’s right. We didn’t give out candy…we gave out religious pamphlets. It’s a wonder we were never egged.** So I cut older kids some slack, because it could be that like me, they didn’t get to go trick or treating again until they were 15 and living with their dad.***
I am actually pretty tolerant when it comes to giving out candy. But on Halloween night, I just about lost my cool. One of the very first groups to come to my door consisted of one little girl who looked to be about 10 years old. With her were three grown women, none of whom were in costume. Now it was just starting to get dark, but I could still see really well. None of the women were carrying a small child. There was no stroller in sight and no kid I’d just missed. What there was, was a 40 some odd year old woman with a purple backpack. After I gave the girl a piece of candy, the woman opened up her bag and looked at me expectantly. When I didn’t immediately put a piece of candy in her bag, she said, “trick or treat,” as if I was too dumb to understand what I was supposed to do. I was flabbergasted.
Don’t get me wrong. I love chocolate. If this blog is evidence of nothing else, it’s that I like to complain and I love chocolate. But I would never, in a million years, go with my child trick or treating and thrust out my own bag. Instead, I do what most Americans do. I buy too much candy and snack all night. Heck, on Halloween night the bags of candy go down in price 50%. If you are too cheap to go buy a bag before the holiday, get it the day of. Do not go to someone’s house and expect to get candy when you are older than the grown adult passing the candy out. It’s asinine!
Despite my disgust, I was too polite to actually say anything. At least I knew the tactful thing to do.
*And even these costumes were thrown together after a quick trip to Goodwill.
**Granted, my entire childhood was also spent in apartments, and there’s just something unfulfilling about egging an apartment door. Management can be called to clean it up, so the point is almost entirely lost.
***And even then my costume was thrown together at the last minute because my Halloween spirit has never been properly developed. I grabbed a pair of my dad’s scrubs, a stethiscope and some tongue depressors. Lame, I know.