Please Let Me Go Trick or Treating

Everyone, no matter their age, should have a chance to trick-or-treat.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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By Nada Hameed

It was almost Halloween, and I’d spent hours putting together the perfect costume, styling my hair and makeup to flawlessly match the reference material. I’d planned the most strategic route with my friends, mapping the most generous houses in my neighborhood. I’d finished all of my homework in advance, ensuring that this night would not be wasted on such trivial matters. With joy in my heart and a cheap plastic trick-or-treat pail in my hands, I knocked on the door of the first house on my list.

“Trick or treat!” my friends and I exclaimed simultaneously.

The middle-aged woman who answered the door rejected our bubbly smiles. She did not offer her bowl of candy. Instead, she moved to close the door.

“Aren’t you guys a little… old for this kind of thing?” she asked, her voice dripping with condescension. “You’re 17, less than a year away from being an adult. You can afford to buy your own Halloween candy.”

The despair that coursed through my veins was almost tangible. This truly was the scariest night of the year, but not because of the gory costumes or horrific decorations. As the night continued and rejections continued to outnumber successes, my friends and I came to a grim conclusion: the most frightening part of Halloween is, in fact, the lack of sympathy and altruism of our neighbors.

Is this the future that faces us? A lifetime without trick-or-treating? Oh, the cruelty of mankind. Yes, cruelty. Why else would we teenagers and adults be excluded from such a harmless, enjoyable activity? Equating trick-or-treating with candy is an oversimplification. I am not here to eat sweets and indulge in the capitalistic, hedonistic desires of society. I am here to dress up with my friends in questionably matching outfits, run around our neighborhood until our legs fail us, and return home exhausted to watch horror movies until three in the morning.

There is no age limit to trick-or-treating, but for some reason, it is frowned upon when older people trick-or-treat. Parents will say that it’s “just part of growing up” but will not be able to give a concrete explanation. Peers will determine that there are more interesting things to do on Halloween, like going to parties. But it’s not about having these other options. It’s about carrying on the tradition of trick-or-treating.

As we grow up, we lose a lot of things that make life entertaining and fun. Those who continue to participate in such activities are labeled as “childish” or “immature.” For example, my elementary school classes were characterized by arts and crafts and recess. Now, my weekdays consist of multivariable calculus and macroeconomics. And after I graduate, I’ll probably spend my days working 40 hours a week, staring at a screen the entire time. Our interests and personalities are forced to adapt to an entirely new lifestyle of adulthood and maturity.

Of course, I’m not necessarily opposed to growing up. Life is about change, and it’s only natural that change comes with new responsibilities and life experiences. But even mature people can have fun, right? Trick-or-treating only happens for one day a year, anyway. It can be harmless entertainment for everyone.

So, Mom, can I PLEASE go trick-or-treating?