Costume a little snug?
By SAM GOODMAN and MOLLY HAYS
Not everyone agrees what the right age is for hanging up your trick-or-treat bag for good.
Published October 20, 2003
[Times photo illustration: Laura Cerri]
Do you know what the scariest thing on Halloween night is? It's not ghosts, goblins or witches but trick-or-treaters old enough to drive, demanding the candy bought for the cute little princesses and superheroes.
But some teens love trick-or-treating so much that it's hard to give it up. Several Tampa Bay area students think that it is perfectly fine for middle and high school students to hit the streets on Halloween night. But others, mostly those in upper grades, say trick-or-treating should stop as you get older.
"I'm going this year, but it's probably going to be my last year," said Nick Frankle, 13, who is in the seventh grade at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa.
"You bet I'm going trick-or-treating," said Austin Roden, 11, a sixth-grader at Berkeley. "Nothing in the world can keep me from all that free candy."
Craig Sears, 16, a junior at Countryside High School in Clearwater, thinks that 15 is the age when you should stop trick-or-treating. His sister, Alexis Sears, 14, a Countryside freshman, had her own opinions. "You are never too old for free candy," she said. "Craig and I are also planning to go to Halloween parties and maybe play pranks, but not vandalism."
At Berkeley, the majority of sixth-graders interviewed said they were going trick-or-treating this year. Half of them said that you're never too old to trick-or-treat. The other half said that between the ages 13 and 15 was about the right time to stop.
When asked if he was going, Charles Godfrey, a 12-year-old seventh-grader at Berkeley, said, "No. Who are you kidding?"
Half of the seventh-graders interviewed at Berkeley said they also were going trick-or-treating. Of those who said they were going, half said that this year or next year would be their last.
And few Berkeley eighth-graders said they were trick-or-treating, but of the few that said yes, they said this was definitely their last year.
"I'm not going trick-or-treating this year," said Berkeley eighth-grader Arielle Gruman, 14. "I (would) rather go to Halloween Horror Nights or pass out candy."
For Sarah Pepi, 16, a sophomore at Center for Wellness and Medical Professions the Palm Harbor University High, age doesn't matter. "I think any age is okay to go out trick-or-treating on Halloween. Halloween is a time to act like someone else and be stupid, which everyone needs to do once in awhile," Pepi said. "Every Halloween, I go trick-or-treating with my friends and sometimes go to a Halloween party or even parties."
Andrew Luttmann, 15, a sophomore at Braulio Alonso High School in Tampa, said, "It doesn't matter how old you are. Dressing up for Halloween originally started as a way for people to hide their identities from dead loved ones," Luttmann said. "I go trick-or-treating every year. You're only too old if you believe you're too old."
Allison Ross, 17, a senior at Countryside High School, disagrees. "I think it is too old to trick-or-treat after 10th grade. Now my friends and I usually go to a costume party," she said. "It is a lot more fun when you are older to go to a party and hang out with your friends instead of trick-or-treating. . . . Plus people don't appreciate older kids coming around to trick-or-treat."
So how old is too old to go trick-or-treating? With so many different opinions, it's probably safe to say the answer is the same as the answer to that old Tootsie Pop commercial: The world may never know. - Sam Goodman, 12, is in sixth grade at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa. He will not be among the trick-or-treaters this year; he will attend a school dance. Molly Hays, 14, is in ninth grade at Countryside High in Clearwater. In addition to a couple of parties, she will go trick-or-treating.