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Let Teens Be Terrifying

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It is Halloween night and as the doorbell rings, a parent comes to the door equipped with a handful of candy and a condescending look. For teenagers who choose to don terrifying costumes and hit the streets in a quest for candy, reluctant parents can ruin the fun with unjustified negativity. When did students in high school trick-or-treating become a controversial topic? In a society where adolescents are constantly being told not to grow up too quickly, the disdainful looks of parents are hypocritical and unwarranted.

While many teens opt to attend Halloween parties or watch cheesy horror films, some actually enjoy making unique and humorous costumes and going door-to-door with an armful of friends. Parents who choose to criticize older trick-or-treaters truly achieve nothing and contradict the lighthearted spirit of the holiday. Harmless teenage vampires aren’t affecting the experience of more youthful monsters, they’re creating their own innocent fun. Halloween shouldn’t be about the age of the participants; it should be about kids being able to dress up and enjoy themselves. Adults should be grateful teens simply want to collect candy and not egg neighborhood houses, and responding so critically is uncalled for.

Adults who feel uncomfortable handing out candy to the infamous ‘6-foot-tall trick-or-treaters always have the option of not opening the door, but to open it and offer more judgment than sugar is demeaning and unnecessary.  Some cities have enforced laws and fines restricting Halloween festivities to children under the age of twelve, but the act of dressing up and receiving candy should be an experience available to anyone who wants to participate.

Everyone has to grow up eventually, but holding onto a childhood tradition that fosters creativity and  results in a memorable night provides a needed break from the everyday stress of high school. For students willing to ignore the stigma about what is socially acceptable, Halloween provides for a spectacular night, and parents need to recognize that they have no right to judge harmless trick-or-treaters seeking out innocent fun.

For teens worried that they are “too old” to trick or treat, I say grab a witch’s hat and green face paint because this sugar filled night is well deserved, and playing it cool for others’ sake will only leave you with regret (and no candy).

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