“All Trick or Treaters, Even Age 12, Must Be Accompanied by an Adult”

Readers — Howl with me at the rules zstsbzbari
imposed on the town of  Waynesboro, Georgia’s trick or treaters:

Rules for Trick or Treating are as follows: 1. “Trick or Treaters” are restricted to 12 years old and under, in a costume and accompanied by a parent, guardian or adult 21 years of age or older. 2. “Trick or Treating” will conclude at 8 p.m. 3. Residents wishing not to participate will leave their porch lights off and will be by passed by the “Trick or Treaters.”

In the video below, several adults welcome these rules, as if this generation of kids is in more danger than they were. But this is simply not the case. Crime is DOWN TO THE LEVEL IT WAS BEFORE COLOR TV.  No child has EVER been poisoned by a stranger’s Halloween candy. There is no increase in child molesting on Halloween. As for the “But anything can happen!!” refrain of frightened parents, that holds true for everything. Halloween party? There could be a fire! Trick or treating with an adult? He could shoot the kids! Stay home and watch TV because it’s no fun for a 12-year-olds to trick or treat with their mom? They COULD get so DEPRESSED that they lock themselves in their rooms and never come out.

After all. Anything can happen. – L.

WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather

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75 Responses to “All Trick or Treaters, Even Age 12, Must Be Accompanied by an Adult”

  1. BL October 30, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    “After all. Anything can happen”

    Elephants could fall from the sky. Your kids could stumble and fall into a time warp. The law of gravity could be repealed.

    You just never know.

  2. Mark October 30, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    One thing that is interesting to point out is that Waynesboro, GA is a rural town of about 5,800, far from Atlanta…far from “yuppie country”. The average household income is barely $20,000 (as of 2000 per Wikipedia). Some people have an assumption that there is a difference living in a small town compared to the big city or a well-to-do-suburb…that people still trust their neighbors and leave the doors open. This video clearly shows that in 2013, that is not so…this paranoia affects everyone, rural, urban, rich, poor. And this paranoia spikes right at Halloween.

  3. Kvirtue October 30, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    A couple of these I agree with…just not the 12 year old must be accompanied by an adult. Trick or treaters who I deem to be too old or not in a costume will get Broccoli.

  4. jessica October 30, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    I really dislike the “too old” thing. If someone enjoys trick-or-treating enough to dress-up then I can handle the $.50 or whatever of candy — plus I usually enjoy those costumes more as they tend to be academic or ironic :).

    These rules are really ridiculous. Not only would it mean that my 15 yr old can’t take his 6 yr old sister trick-or-treating (one of the only activities they actually enjoy together and a great opportunity to nurture the sibling bond) — my *20* yr old adult daughter would not be considered mature enough to accompany any of her younger siblings (the 6 yr old or the 12 and 9 yr olds who general trick-or-treat with friends) — let’s ignore that she has a college degree, holds down two jobs, and has general accepted all other levels of adult responsibility.

    Given the fact that I’m 35 weeks pregnant I am quite certain that any of the older three and probably the 9 yr old would be in a better position to “protect” a younger child – whether it be from a drive-by kidnapping :::eye roll::: or a mistimed dash into a street.

  5. Meagan October 30, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Apparently they really want to be stuck with leftover candy….

    Frankly, if someone comes trick or treating at my house, I don’t worry about how old they look or if their costume passes muster. I’m happy to get rid of the candy so I don’t have to eat it.

    And this reminds me of the meme that goes around Facebook this time every year, reminding us that the kid not in costume may have a sensory issue or autism, the kid that grabs more than 1 piece might not have fine motor control, the kid who is disappointed in the offerings may have an allergy, the kid that doesn’t say trick or treat might be non-verbal….

    Halloween is supposed to be fun, but with restrictions like that, they take some of the fun out.

  6. Warren October 30, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    Halloween gone by 2020, is my prediction.

  7. Laura October 30, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Are these ‘rules’ actual legal regulations/laws? If not how could they possibly enforce them? If they are I would still not follow them and I would shame the town government for wasting my tax dollars on it. This is just ridiculous.

  8. Tina October 30, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I hate the statement “Wellllll….no we don’t … better safe than SORRY” (say it in a nasal tone) and cannot come up with a reasonable argument. Paranoid people! ugh!!

  9. Emily October 30, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    1. As for the “too old” thing, there are twelve-year-old boys who are close to six feet tall, twelve-year-old girls who look “developed,” and by the same token, there are fourteen-year-olds who look like they have yet to hit puberty. How are you going to tell how old anyone is? You can’t I.D. every kid at the door, because most people below the age of sixteen or so don’t have I.D.

    2. “Around middle school, my friends started having parties.” Well, that’s great for the popular kids, but what about the ones who don’t get invited to parties, Halloween or otherwise? What about the kids who have friends, but the Queen Bee decided to pull a snub on them this week, so they’re suddenly uninvited to the Halloween Party To End All Halloween Parties at her house? What about the ones who attend schools that don’t have Halloween dances anymore? There’s trick-or-treating for kids, and events at bars and whatnot for adults who don’t get invited to private Halloween parties, but kids “too old” for trick-or-treating get nothing, at an age when they’re “too old” for a lot of things, and “too young” for a lot more things, and generally believed by many adults to be a nuisance. So, if this community wants to put an age cap on trick-or-treating, they should also organize a Halloween party, that’s actually ON Halloween, for teenagers. I guarantee that it’d save at least one kid’s self-esteem, for at least one night.

    3. Did it occur to the city officials that trick-or-treating is one of the LEAST harmful things that older kids could be doing on Halloween night? Left without that option, or a positive and welcoming Halloween event, some young people are going to engage in vandalism–smashing pumpkins, shaving cream, silly string, and T.P. at best, or worse than that, spray-painting graffiti on things, or possibly engaging in some real property damage. Now, how exactly is that better than a high school kid dressed as Batman or Paris Hilton, politely going door-to-door in hopes of scoring some Skittles? My answer is, it isn’t. In my world, costume (or attempted costume) + manners = candy.

    3b. What about older kids and adults collecting canned food for “Trick or Eat,” or similar charities? That works the same way as trick-or-treating (and it makes sense, because people are expecting a stream of visitors at the door that night anyway), but it’s usually people above trick-or-treat age who do it. So, are homeowners just supposed to shut out any older-looking person who comes to their door in a costume, assuming they’re after free candy for themselves? I did Trick or Eat in university, and it was a blast. My friends and I got the fun of Halloween, the food bank got a sizable donation, and some people gave us non-perishable food AND candy. But, the trick-or-treat rules described here would pretty much kill any positive initiative like that. So, if I was on the other end of Trick or Eat, then again, costume + manners = let me find something from the pantry, and here, have a Blow-Pop too, for being a Good Samaritan.

    4. About the “adult escorts must be 21 or older” rule, I know a lot of people who had kids before they were 21. So, does that mean that, if you have a baby at 16, and a four-year-old by the time you’re 20, you can’t take your kid trick-or-treating that year? Also, are the providers of candy supposed to I.D. the adults at the door? Of course, younger parents aren’t the only problem with this–what about babysitters, older siblings, older friends, etc.?

    5. “Halloween concludes at 8 p.m., because kids shouldn’t be out after dark?” Umm, that’s the fun of Halloween! It’s supposed to be spooky and a little scary, and it’s just not possible to get that effect in daylight. Besides, people trick-or-treating early can run into problems like people still eating dinner, rush hour (more cars on the road), people not home from work yet to hand out candy because they’re stuck in rush-hour traffic, etc.

    6. Non-participants should leave their porch lights off: Okay, that rule makes sense. It’s been standard operating procedure everywhere I’ve ever lived. It makes sense because it’s “live and let live,” so why can’t the other Halloween rules be that way too? Turn on your porch light if you’re participating, turn off your porch light when you’re done participating (or if you run out of candy), and don’t make a fuss if older kids want to do trick-or-treat (or Trick or Eat, or Unicef), or if kids want to trick-or-treat unsupervised, or aren’t finished on the stroke of 8 p.m., or whatever.

    7. About the “all trick-or-treaters must be escorted by an adult” rule, I notice that the city officials didn’t spell out what “escorting” means. An easy work-around would be for a cool twentysomething, big brother/big sister figure, to gather up a gaggle of kids, walk them to the end of the street, let them gather their candy, report back to them, and repeat the process at each street, for the rest of the night. I’d be willing to act as said “cool twentysomething,” and I would accept payment in the form of Nerds, Swedish Berries, Cherry Blasters, Fuzzy Peach Slices, Blow-Pops, or Skittles, but not sour Skittles. Seriously, though, I think that’d probably last for all of one Halloween, before the city started stipulating that adults must be Right. With. The. Kids. All. The. Time.

  10. Papilio October 30, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Relating this to Sint-Maarten: kids generally stop after primary school, so 12 is pretty correct, but I think it’s overdone to make up a little rule about that so no 13yo will sneak along with a younger sibling.
    I also remember it was already pretty quiet around 20.00, so maybe that’s not crazy either, but again no need for a rule.

    But that ALL kids should bring an adult over 21!!! I could imagine asking kids not to go alone, but this! Absolutely ridiculous.

  11. Dave October 30, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Let the parents decide if their children are responsible enough to go out on their own. No kids have been poisoned but candy so what are we afraid of. The guy who was afraid to open his door to a kid in costume looked pretty big himself. Is he really afraid? Have teenager really pushed in doors on Halloween night to get candy from their neighbors. I hate stupidity.

  12. Sharon October 30, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    Three middle schoolers age 11 and 12 wanted to try a new area for trick or treat. One of the moms offered to come and stand or the street corner but not go to each house. The only rule is the kids needs to stick together because only one of the three girls knows the neighborhood.

    They plan to go past 8 pm because there is no public school in the county the next day. I hope they have a great time. They have seen the costumes at a school dance (which I also did not attend) and one or more will probably carry a cell phone.

  13. Suzi October 30, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    We should relax. Let kids be kids. And if a little kid can’t afford a costume give them extra candy!

  14. Warren October 30, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    What could they do if a group of parents banded together, sent their kids out together, with notes of parental permission?

    These do not seem to be laws, or even bylaws.

  15. PLW October 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    The 21-year-old rule is my favorite. I assume it implies there will be booze, which is pretty much my favorite part about Halloween.

  16. Stephanie October 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Couldn’t they make sensible rules, such as don’t drive your kids house to house when the houses are close together?

  17. E. Simms October 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    The most sad part is that these town officials are telling parents that they can’t be trusted to set rules that are based on their own children’s capabilities. I agree with Laura, these rules are not enforceable unless each street has a self appointed busy body.

  18. Eric the Half-bee October 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    I submit that Civil Disobedience to inane, non-enforceable and arbitrary rules is automatically at the top of the “anything could” list.

  19. Ben October 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    What irks me most is that people between 12 and 21 years old are left out. They’re too old to go trick-or-treating with their younger friends, but too young to be considered adult enough to chaperone someone else.

    You’re not suddenly adult-like and responsible at 21. The rules they imposed should have done more to include this age-group.

  20. Rob C. October 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    GAH!!! I was mildly annoyed with this story until I watched the video. Now I’m angered. Why are these people so stupid? Why is that big ol’ guy admitting to being afraid of a 14 year old? Why does that one lady think it’s no longer safe to go door-to-door and that you need to get your candy x-rayed? Why aren’t these people outraged that their freedom to parent as they wish is being taken away bit by bit?

    Who cares how old the TOT’s are? I went out every Halloween until I turned 18. Then I stayed home and watched horror movies instead, until I had kids to take out. I dressed up with them, and walked them around, but didn’t go to the doors with them, until they were old enough to go on their own. Now I sit home and hand out candy (can’t watch horror movies because my wife doesn’t like them).

    And the “accompanied by an adult over 21” thing is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Well, at least since hearing that some people believe most of the candy handed out on Halloween has been prayed over by witches and dedicated to Satan (or something like that).

    My favorite holiday is going to be gone before I have grandchildren to celebrate with.

  21. Silver Fang October 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    I can’t believe all those parents agreeing with the rules. Talk about statism. What happened to believing in one’s own abilities and questioning the state? If I were a parent there, I’d send my kids out by themselves, with a letter explaining that I disagree with the rule and am encouraging them to do their own thing as a form of civil disobedience.

  22. BL October 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    “Non-participants should leave their porch lights off: Okay, that rule makes sense”

    One of my pet peeves. Everything that makes sense or is a good idea doesn’t have to be a “rule”. Or, worse yet, a law.

  23. pentamom October 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    I can think of three women I know right off the top of my head, who had children (while married) before the age of 20. Wonder who was supposed to take their toddlers places?

  24. Steve Cournoyer October 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Will the cops be out checking ID’s? Enforcing the 8 PM curfew? I’ll be the SWAT Teams show up….Please tell me that these are not really laws on the books……

  25. PilgrimDuke October 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    I actually like the rule about children being accompanied, but not for the reason that it was put in place. This year (and last year) my wife is not going to be home on Halloween. I actually like giving out candy, but since there’s a warlock hunt going on in this country, there’s no way that I’m going to be giving candy out without a wintessing female. I might reconsider if this law was in place.

  26. Kate October 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    Thanks to the lady at the end of the video I now have plans for Friday. I WILL be taking all the candy to an X-ray machine.


    Incidentally, my newly 13 year old (who is trick or treating with friends, not me) was horrified when I told her she was getting to be too old for trick or treat. She’s not stopping until she gets to high school, she says. Lucky for her we don’t live in Waynesboro.

    Laughing at all the comments about teen moms. Yeah they can have sex and deliver babies but they aren’t old enough to accompany a minor trick or treating!!!

  27. Nicole October 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Time limits and not going to houses where the lights are off might be passed off as reminding people of proper etiquette. But age limits, and adults over 21 having to accompany children? That’s crazy. What if the kid’s parent isn’t over the age of 21? On my first Halloween my mother was still only 20. I guess she was fine for regular parenting duties, but for the particular perils of Halloween trick-or-treating she would have needed to call in a “real” adult.

  28. Rachel October 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    My mom always refused to open the door for any trick-or-treaters who showed up before dusk. Wrapping up by 8 is a little ridiculous on that timetable. Non-costumed teenagers trick-or-treating can be annoying but as long as they make some effort I’m fine with that.

    The only Halloween rule I could get behind is a banning of cars carting kids between houses. (I’m sure it’s necessary for some kid out there but even then you could find a creative alternative.)

  29. mystic_eye_cda October 30, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Is it common in the US to trick or treat early and have it end at dusk? That’s not the practice here (Ontario), here you don’t start until the sun is going down. However there’s been a lot of press that states the candy industry pushed to have daylight savings end after hallowe’en because an extra hour of trick-or-treating is better for business. Seems odd that an entire industry would be wrong

  30. Amanda Matthews October 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    “As for the “too old” thing, there are twelve-year-old boys who are close to six feet tall, twelve-year-old girls who look “developed,” and by the same token, there are fourteen-year-olds who look like they have yet to hit puberty. How are you going to tell how old anyone is? You can’t I.D. every kid at the door, because most people below the age of sixteen or so don’t have I.D.”

    So true. My 12 year old is now taller than I am and over this past summer his voice changed. On the other hand I get people (non-neighbors) coming to the door, and if I answer, they honestly ask if my mom or dad are home. Our neighbors actually know us, but if they didn’t, there would be no way to tell how old we are.

    My husband was born when his mother was 16, and his sister a year later. Guess they would have had a small window where they were “allowed” to trick-or-treat…

    If I was so afraid that my neighbors were going to hurt my children that I would follow these rules… I would not live near those neighbors!

    And I give out candy indiscriminately. If you have kids, I can’t imagine what you would do with the leftover candy you horded from anyone deemed too old, AND the candy your kids get while trick or treating.

  31. jessica October 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    please don’t think I’m agreeing with any of it ;), but to clarify the rule reads:

    “accompanied by a parent, guardian OR (emphasis added)adult 21 years of age or older.”

    So younger parents would be able to take their own kids trick-or-treating — but apparently not the friends of their kids.

  32. Snow October 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    I think the rules mean that the chaperone can be a parent or guardian, no matter what the age, and if the chaperone is not a parent or guardian then they have to be 21 or over. That’s the way I read it, anyway. I still think it’s stupid and thankfully I don’t live there.

  33. Snow October 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Jessica, I must have been typing my reply as you were posting! We clarified the same point!

  34. lollipoplover October 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    Halloween doesn’t have rules! That’s the fun of it. I give candy to anyone in costume so they don’t egg my house later.

    We don’t card trick-or-treaters or their parents/guardians/babysitters. “You there, tall guy in the back. You got any ID?” Just give out the chocolate bars and turn your lights out when you run out of candy like everyone else. Sheesh.

  35. Chihiro October 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Everyone uses that to justify their paranoid behavior. “Anything could happen!” Yes, you’re right. You could die. Right now, from an illness you never knew you had. A meteor could come falling through your roof. There’s risks everywhere, there’s absolutely no reason to be afraid of a select few.

  36. Amanda Matthews October 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    Okay – but how does anyone differentiate between a 16 year old just tagging along with younger kids or siblings, and a 16 year old parent? Or, like in my case, a parent that LOOKS like a teenager? Do they have to carry ID and birth certificates?

  37. Eileen October 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    I grew up in NJ and Louisiana and was trick-or-treat age in both places. In NJ it was anything goes, starting right after school. The night before halloween was “wreck up night” for the kids of that ilk and you hoped not to be egged or worse (my older sister’s car had paint on it one year). When me moved to Louisiana in a larger city, we arrived to find a time specified. This was in the 70s. Trick or Treating was from 5-8 (or something like that). And the day for doing it moved depending on the conflict (college football or landing on a Sunday). So rules aren’t that foreign to me, but the escort stuff certainly is.

  38. Donna October 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    I do agree about the costume one. I’m not picky about the costume but make SOME effort kids.

    Otherwise, a city can’t just decide that there are rules for Halloween and post them on its website! Well it can, but it has as much meaning as me deciding rules for Halloween and posting them on my blog (if I had one). I’m all for rules that rule-setters have the actual authority to set (and I’m not really; I just think it’s idiotic to think that your belief that a rule is stupid exempts you from the rule), but this is completely ridiculous. Are they going to tell them when to eat Thanksgiving dinner and open their Christmas presents too?

    Sadly, the rules will be mostly followed so will exist every year from now on. One because most people will just follow them and two because they are fairly routine Halloween fare. Most people I know stopped trick or treating at about 12. It is mostly done by 8. And the porch light rule has been around in unwritten form since I was a kid.

  39. Warren October 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    LOL, just showed the rules to my 14yr old daughter. Who has plans of going early with some friends and their younger siblings, 4 and 5. After that they are trick or treating their butts off. I expect them back around 10ish or so.

    Only one rule and one rule only, Dad gets the Tootsie rolls. They don’t like them anyway.

    Her response to the rules, “We would go anyway. What are they going to do arrest us.” She also knows I would have her back on that.

  40. lollipoplover October 30, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Halloween is getting so complicated. To kids it’s a night to dress up and get free candy.
    Or letters, if your BMI is high or your kid is big.
    This is NUTS:

  41. Warren October 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    I would definitely be having words with this self righteous witch. Called her witch instead of the b word, in the spirit of the season.

  42. Donna October 30, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    lollipoplover – They were talking about that on some talk show that was on while I worked this morning. That is completely unbelievable. I really hope all the negative publicity encourages her to change her plan tomorrow. While it will be fabulous to see her house the next morning if she follows through, it will hurt the kids’ feelings and is the worst way to address their weight issue.

  43. Jenny Islander October 30, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    I posted this recently but I think it bears repeating: In my town, which is in darkness by 6:00 this time of year and HAD ACTUAL FACTUAL GRIZZLY BEARS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD LAST HALLOWEEN, the ONLY thing the town authorities had to say about that was, “Travel in groups, take flashlights and whistles and a cell phone if you have one, and don’t take shortcuts.” That plus some extra police patrols was ALL THEY DID ABOUT THE BEARS. And, just as we expected, NOBODY–GOT–HURT!

    Aiiii, this makes my brain hurt. Why are so many adults afraid of the boogeyman?

  44. Donna October 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    Since a couple people brought it up, I hate that daylight savings time doesn’t end until after Halloween now. As the parent of a younger kid, I’d really prefer it get dark earlier on Halloween so that trick or treating can start earlier and little girls can gear down and go to bed earlier, thus making it easier to get them up in the morning. It isn’t a problem this year since school is out the next day, but someone really thought making it stay light until later on Halloween was a good idea?

  45. Snow October 30, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    That woman who is giving out the letter is going to get egged. I think everyone should dress up as pumpkins or some other type of bulky costume so she won’t be able to tell who is larger.

    I also cannot stand that the clocks aren’t set back until after Halloween, all it does is keep the kids out longer.

  46. JJ October 30, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    Can’t we just let some things be the domain of kids? Besides handing candy at our own house and of course charging our kids a Butterfinger tax, can’t we just stay out of trick or treating?

  47. Michelle October 30, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    “I really dislike the “too old” thing. If someone enjoys trick-or-treating enough to dress-up then I can handle the $.50 or whatever of candy — plus I usually enjoy those costumes more as they tend to be academic or ironic :)”

    I dislike it, too. I have gone trick-or-treating almost every single year of my life, and I LOVE it. I enjoyed it in the exact same spirit at 5, 10, 15, and 20. I think it’s just cruel and unfair to exclude kids who are “too old.”

    Also, I was a parent at 20, and that’s the year I took my own kids trick-or-treating for the first time, but according to this town’s rules I would have had to stay home?

  48. Papilio October 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

    Wow, all those comments on teen moms! Really shows the American context…

    About that letter handing woman: oi. I understand her concern and do think it’s sometimes necessary to make people/parents aware of weight problems, but this is really humiliating for children, and that doesn’t help them loose weight. It’s the hard message without the support to help them change their eating habits, while *that* is the hardest part.

  49. Ben October 30, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    Daylight savings time ends after Halloween? Yeah, that sucks. Maybe it’s time for you guys to join the European system. We already switched last weekend.

  50. Pam October 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    Thinking of how thankful I am that I am not living in this town!
    1. Do these people not realize that it is dark well before 8 o’clock on October 31? Maybe they do their Halloween on July 31.
    2. I would and have opened my door to a six foot fourteen year old on Halloween or any other night for that matter. But then I’m not afraid of teens.
    3. Do these people really feel that it is up to the city government to raise and protect their children?
    4. X-rays are more dangerous than Halloween candy. I wouldn’t feed my kids any candy that has been x-rayed.

  51. Snow October 30, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Ben, we used to ‘fall back’ and ‘spring forward’ at the same time you did, but that changed a few years back.

  52. Snow October 30, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    In Aug. 2005, Congress passed an energy bill that included extending Daylight Saving Time by about a month. Since 2007, DST starts the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November.

    Read more: Daylight Saving Time | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/spot/daylight1.html#ixzz2jFiDD7ev

  53. Eliza October 30, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    @Warren, You stated that Halloween will be gone by 2020. Don’t panic, as here in Sunny Australia Halloween is becoming more and more popular each year. As a child no one really celebrated it. We just were amused when we saw shows that had episodes of kids trick or treating. I guess by 2020 it will become part of Australian culture. What amused me was a story on the news last night that parents should be concerned about lollies being tampered with. This amused me as I said Trick or Treating is new in Australia. As for me I have warned the kids that if they want my jam filled donut cupcakes tonight, they need to do more then put a pair of store bought wings on their backs. You will get 2 cupcakes if you come in the secret costume I am thinking of. Just between us, the secret costume is Zombie Smurf. That’s something I would love to see knocking on my door. Do not care how old you are. If over 18 I might even give you a beer as well.

  54. Reziac October 30, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Glah. I submit that the adults are just jealous because THEY don’t get free candy.

    Seriously, I think I was six or seven when I first went trick-or-treating “by myself” (in a group of neighbor kids aged 6 to 10 or so) and amazingly, all of us survived this. The worst thing that happened was someone’s paper bag tore and spilled candy all over the place. And we were all afraid to knock on the stern 3rd grade music teacher’s door, which in restrospect probably really hurt the old lady’s feelings. 🙁

    I think I stopped going when I was 13 or so, because we moved to a neighborhood that lacked all “spook factor” and it just wasn’t the same.

  55. bmjj2k October 30, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    Seems to me those rules are for cranky residents who don’t want loud kids ringing their bells.

  56. Stacie October 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    Lots of parents go trick-or-treating with their big kids in my neighborhood, not because my neighborhood is scary or because older kids need supervision, but because it’s a lot of fun. Think 600 kids over 2 hours on some blocks. (So parents tag-team when they can, or take their little kids early then go home to hand out candy later.) Everyone’s dressed up–yeah, there are some teenagers who paint whiskers on their face and call that a cat costume, but so what?

    Some of the houses have treats for the parents–hot cider, cookies, even beers or shots. I remember walking around when my son was a few months old, him dressed in a lion suit for warmth, with a beer given to my husband by a neighbor, in the cup holder of his stroller. We got offered candy at a lot of the houses but only took a couple of pieces from people we knew.

  57. Emily October 30, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    Okay, as for the lady who’s handing out “fat letters” on Halloween, it was bad enough when the schools started doing that, but this is beyond the pale. If you think that kids are getting too fat, or eating too much candy, or whatever, you give ALL the kids a non-food treat, and call it good. Stickers and pencils usually aren’t cool enough, but glow sticks (or glow bracelets) definitely are. They’re not expensive, kids love them because they’re fun, and parents love them because they make kids more visible in the dark. Plus, if you decide to give out glow-things for Halloween, you don’t become That House, that gives out fruit or toothbrushes. Besides, trick-or-treating involves a lot of walking, and most parents don’t allow their kids to eat all their Halloween candy at once. When my brother and I were kids, we didn’t get our candy taken away, but it was spread out over time, for desserts, lunch box treats, after school snacks, etc. We still got to have some candy right after trick-or-treating, but never all of it at once. We eventually figured out the reason for this rule, one memorable Christmas morning when we binged on chocolate from our stockings before breakfast (or, more accurately, we felt so sick from chocolate overload that we couldn’t eat breakfast). Anyway, my point is, I think that, if anything, Halloween can teach kids moderation, by encouraging them to ration their candy, and eat it just a little bit at a time, so they don’t get stomach aches. If you take away kids’ candy, or keep them home from trick-or-treating altogether, with a “healthy” Halloween party spread of banana ghosts and clementine pumpkins, then kids never learn this, and when they do get some “contraband” junk food, they scarf it down all at once and get sick. It’s a milder version of the kid with the 9:30 curfew and GPS-chipped cell phone at the age of 17 going off to university and getting raging drunk and sleeping with a different person every night. So, it’s better to learnt his lesson with a stocking full of chocolate and ensuing stomach ache when you’re eight years old, than with a booze and sex binge when you’re eighteen.

  58. bmommyx2 October 30, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    how sad for them. Sometimes we don’t even go out till 7:30 or 8 & we stay out till people turn off their lights around 10 or so. Also where I live in so. Cal it isn’t even dark till about 7pm

  59. Michelle October 30, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    I’ve now spent the evening reminiscing about past Halloweens when I was apparently “too old” to go trick or treating.

    When I was 13, I was a flapper, with a genuine flapper dress owned by my great-aunt in the ’20s. My mom let me invite my second-ever boyfriend along, and we had a sweet, innocent time trick-or-treating.

    When I was 16, my mom had just remarried. My step-brother was visiting from out of state, and it was the first time I ever met his wife and 5yo daughter. I had some friends my age who had siblings my niece’s age, so the three of us dressed up and took the little ones trick-or-treating. I’ve never been close to my step-brother, and that was the only real quality time I’ve ever spent with my niece, who is now in college in Italy.

    The next year, when I was a senior, two friends and I decided that we desperately had to go trick-or-treating. Our costumes were kind of last minute, but we were young and on the verge of the rest of our lives, and we held on to one last little bit of our childhood. And we had a blast.

    When I was 20, I was pregnant for the first time, and it was my first Halloween with my step-children. They were 2 and 3 years old, and they were both spiders. Now they are 14 and 15,and their costumes are more complicated. They are also sweet enough to go trick-or-treating with their momma and younger siblings – at least for a little while before going off on their own.

    I’m glad we don’t live in this town in Georgia. If someone tried to tell me that my kids shouldn’t be allowed to go trick-or-treating, I couldn’t help but tell them where to stick their rules.

  60. john October 31, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    Not all of these rules are necessarily intended to protect the “children”. It is perfectly possible these rules are intended to protect the property owners FROM the children. The spirit of Halloween implies some presence of “TRICK” . Might the Good boys and girls find themselves overcome with a temptation to commit mischief? Of course not, just as there is no such thing as a bad kid or all of the video games and other amusements of adolescents are wholesome. There are no bullies either. Right Lenore? Ah tradition, Our Gang, Bowery Boys, Katzenjammer, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. You Know kids and kidstuff! and of course ” it sounded like a good idea at the time.

  61. mobk October 31, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    My Halloween Rules

    If you knock on my door and look under about 13 you get some candy no matter how lame your costume. If you are over 13 you better have a decent costume or else you get gently mocked (but you still get candy because I sure don’t want any leftovers that I will probably eat myself)

    As for my own kids. I sure hope they will be going on their own with friends before age 12!

  62. EricS October 31, 2013 at 1:18 am #

    Who’s making all these new rules? Unless it’s the LAW, they can shove it. However, the light off porch might not be so bad. Considering not everyone celebrates Halloween, and don’t want to have to keep turning kids away. But the rest are really ridiculous. I remember my very first Halloween at age 6 (family immigrated here when I was 5), my mother took me and my siblings out. But the following year, it was just a bunch of kids from my building hanging together and watching out for each other. Between the ages of 6 to 11, if memory serves me right. No parents. The adults outside and in the homes were the second eyes for our parents. We went to every house and apartment building within a 2 block radius. Including the convenience stores. We had to make two trips out because our bags got so full. lol

  63. LRothman October 31, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    When I was growing up, the rule was that I couldn’t leave to go trick-or-treating until it was almost entirely dark – after all, people wanted to be able to eat their dinners without being interrupted.

  64. Dirge October 31, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    I think the age limit on trick or treating is bogus. I did it until I was a sophomore in college. Anyone who comes to my door in even a moderate costume gets candy. They only get one piece, while kids get a handful, but I would give candy to a septuagenarian who knocks on my door on Halloween.

  65. Susan H October 31, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    This is a really sweet reminder to welcome those giant 15-year old trick-or-treaters with open arms.

  66. pentamom October 31, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Thanks for the catch on 21 OR parent.

    And the “light off” thing was in place when I was trick or treat age, almost 40 years ago. I supposed if it’s just a reminder, that’s helpful, but is it really needed?

    If these were worded as suggestions it would not be too bad, but words like “restricted” imply the town has some authority to tell people how their kids can trick-or-treat, when they really don’t.

    Papilio, I don’t think the references to “teen moms” are meant to suggest that it’s so common it’s the first thing we think of, it’s just that they’re an example of the absurdity of the rule. There are real-world situations where parents are under 21, and this town is trying to make it so that a judgment has to be made about whether Susie, who’s the actual 20 year old parent, is allowed to take the kids on TorT, but Mary, who’s their 20 year old big sister, cannot. That suggestion just illustrates the absurdity of the rule, more than it being about “oh now what will younger parents do?” Younger parents will, hopefully, use common sense and not worry about these stupid rules.

  67. Elisabeth October 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    This is truly a Halloween scare!! What I find most spooky, haunting, and nightmarish is how these “rules” are presented (are they laws? What was the civic process by which they were adopted? what are the consequences for failure to comply?) and how un-American this seems for a city in a state that often loves to wave its “more American than you” credentials.

    Handed down like dictates from the anonymous town crier website, their is no explanation of how they came to be, who sponsored this, what evidence there is of a civic need for them. There is also no room for comment — this is just how it is, good people of Waynesboro, like it or lump it.

    People may think our civic process in Berkeley is loopy, but at least you know who said what, when, and no “rules” are ever imposed without some serious public process (as painful as it can often be).

    I am adequately frightened for Halloween now — thanks, Waynesboro!!

  68. Jenna K. October 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    I saw this on the news here in Utah and thought it was so silly and hope it doesn’t catch on everywhere.

    It is generally an unwritten rule that if the porch light is off, you don’t trick-or-treat there. Having a time when to end it is not so bad, but at the same time, makes it highly over-regulated. I don’t disagree that kids who trick-or-treat should be 12 and under, however, I do disagree that it should be made a rule for a whole town. My own kids will stop once they are in middle school, which here is 7th grade. But the having to have an adult with you, even for older kids, and that adult has to be 21 and older (so if someone had a baby when they were 17 and that baby is now three and they are 20, they aren’t allowed to take their own child out trick-or-treating?) is stupid. I remember walking my baby brother around when he was 4 years old and I was 13. It was the first year my parents wouldn’t let me go because I was too old, but they let me walk him around the neighborhood. How silly that an older sibling can’t even do that here!

    And this all coming in the year I decide to let my kids go alone around our neighborhood, even taking the 2-year-old with them, without me. My oldest is 10.

  69. CrazyCatLady October 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    I think I would put a sign on my door that I had taken my 13 year old and her younger siblings to the next town over to trick or treat. I don’t particularly WANT my 13 year old at parties on Halloween with older kids….

  70. Liz October 31, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    My 2 coworkers were just having a conversation about the appropriate age at which kids can trick or treat alone. One of them will be taking her 11 year old son tonight. The other said that she let her 14 year old daughter go a few blocks last year on her way home from a “trunk or treat,” but that she took too long to get home, proving to her mother that she “wasn’t ready for independence yet.” I don’t even have kids, but I mentioned that when I was a kid (in the 90s), I was allowed to go alone from about age 8-9 and up, and they both thought that was insane, because “there are crazy people everywhere.” I. Can’t. Even.

  71. Heath November 1, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    I had never thought about it until I saw this article, but I checked my town’s website, just to see if they had any Halloween “rules”. This was on there: “Neighborhood Trick or Treat – [Town’s] citizens are invited to participate in door-to-door trick or treating on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 6 – 8 p.m. During this time, [Town]’s Public Safety Department will provide additional patrols throughout the City for participants. Neighborhood Trick or Treat is for children 12 and under. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.”

    Luckily, apparently no one saw the rules, because I saw several kids who had to be older than 12, including my nephew. One helpful rule they should add would be, “Please don’t follow behind your kid in a car, because you running over a kid with your car is actually a much more real danger than whatever you think may happen to your kid. And if you can’t get out and walk with him/her, then get someone less lazy to take your kid.”

  72. Papilio November 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    @pentamom: Still, the thought of teen parents didn’t cross my mind, even though I actually know of one girl stupid enough to think that a baby would be ‘fun’ at 18. But they’re rare here.

    @Heath: Forbidding parents to crawl behind their kids in a car sounds like an excellent idea. Come on people, you know you should walk more…

  73. Uly November 2, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    “they both thought that was insane, because “there are crazy people everywhere.””

    Yeah, and you were talking to them. Sheesh.

  74. Jen November 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    We took our girls, age 7, trick or treating locally in our small NH town. The entire town gets into the spirit. The fire department was set up at each intersection acting as crossing guards and giving out treats. Downtown residents and businesses were giving out candy. Several homes created haunted houses – yes, we let the girls go together through total strangers “haunted” homes. There were kids everywhere, some with parents, others without. Many people were buying cocoa or hotdogs “for donation” that some organization of unknown affiliation was proffering. There was chaos and everyone was having a great time. And it was dark out. And we occasionally lost site of the kids. But we all made it home, safe and sound. Our normally shy girls approached strangers (some in some pretty scary costumes), shouting trick to treat and even remembering (mostly) unprompted to say thank you. They tested their boundaries, took risks, ate more candy than they knew we would approve of…and made it to school the next day to tell their friends all about it. It was awesome to see the confidence!

  75. Suzanne November 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Laura makes a good point in questioning whether any of these are legal regulations or just “guidelines” published in the news. Let’s assume they are genuine city ordained rules. If a woman has a child big enough to trick or treat, let’s say 2 and mom happens to be under 21 she cannot take her own child trick-or-treating. Awesome rules, well thought out. Why are so many people in this county suffering from paranoid delusions and being left untreated and allowed to impose their delusions on everything kids are involved with.