Sunday, October 31, 2010

Too Old for Halloween

Halloween iconImage via WikipediaWhen I was twelve, three of my friends and I were trying to make up our minds whether to go trick-or-treating for Halloween. We decided that we would go, but in our hearts we knew it was probably the last year we would.

We went all out on our costumes, although for the life of me, I can't remember what mine was. We started knocking on doors and eventually our bags were filling up.

After about half an hour, we knocked on a door. A man and woman, dressed in costume, answered the door. They invited us in and gave us our candy. Just as we were getting ready to leave, the woman asked if we were about done with our trick-or-treating for the evening. We said that we were planning to go to a few more places and why did she want to know. She told us that they needed a baby-sitter. She and her husband had wanted to go to a Halloween party, but didn't have anyone to watch their kids. She wanted to know if we would want the job.

Two of the girls didn't want to, they were intent on continuing their candy-gathering. I and my best friend decided that money out-weighed candy, so we said yes. The couple let us call our parents to make sure it was okay. Our parents said yes and the couple went to their party.

After a little while, my friend and I started talking about how strange this all was. We hadn't even seen any children. So we sneaked into the bedrooms to check and sure enough, there were two sleeping children all cuddled in their beds. They were too young to trick-or-treat, so I guess their parents had put them to bed early.

The night was uneventful. The children slept. My friend and I watched television. After a few hours the parents returned home, paid us, and we were on our way home. All in all, it was a good evening. We got some candy in our bags and even made a little money.

There has been a lot of discussion this week in the news about "how old is too old" to trick-or-treat. I don't think anyone has an answer to that. I think it's different for every person. For me, it was that night. When people start asking you to work for them, it's probably time to quit.

Now that I'm older, I don't like it when teenagers beg for candy. I would prefer they stick to Halloween parties. It just seems to be an activity better suited for little kids accompanied by their parents. In fact, as a high school teacher, I was always surprised by the number of students who came to school in costume. I was even more surprised by the number of teachers who dressed for the occasion.

So how old is too old for Halloween? I guess I just don't have a good answer for that.

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