How old is too old to trick-or-treat?

howoldIs there a mandatory retirement age for trick-or-treating?

Is there a maximum allowable height beyond which you stay home and open the door?

I ask because my son Connor is in 6th grade, taller than both grandmothers, and is more gung-ho about this year’s trick-or-treating plans than ever. At least about the collecting candy part. The costume choice has gotten less all-consuming for Connor than it was when he was three; he went as a lion that year, and felt obligated to remove his mane/hood to reassure any passing grownup feigning fear of him that he was, in fact, a human child. (It was like trick-or-treating with a tiny Nick Bottom).

When you’re a pre-teen, you want the candy without the commitment. Here was my son’s costume last year:

trick or treat


That’s him with our doorman. The Red Hooded Sweatshirt sort of worked as a meta-Adam-Sandler reference to the time-honored notion of a Halloween getup that is hastily cobbled together. But the whole thing was half-assed, to be sure.

So when Connor started talking about this year’s trick-or-treating plans (hitting two neighborhood high-rises for a truly remarkable candy haul), I told him that the older you got, the better your costume had to be to keep earning the fun-sized goodness. He agreed with this notion, it seems, because here is what he wore to his sister’s Halloween birthday party yesterday:

trick or treat 2

It’s a little blurry, so let me lay it out for you: my son is wearing

–a tutu

–a swim cap

–a tiara


–a rainbow beard

–his school tie

–and his sister’s old Dora the Explorer t-shirt, complete with Purple Backpack.

I think any sixth grade boy willing to wear Backpack, Backpack to his school Halloween social deserves a few Baby Ruths. I hope his classmates agree.

It’s weird to go from a mom that dreads the “big kids” on nights like Halloween to a mom that has one. I’m not sure when that happened. And until today, I still wasn’t totally sure if I was supposed to tell him he was just too old for all that.

But then I read this essay by Marion Franck: What You Need to Know About 6-Foot Trick-or-Treaters. It’s tearing up the Internets this week, but if you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favor. As Franck concludes:

When a crowd of under-costumed teens shows up on your doorstep, welcome them. It’s a big group because they find strength in numbers. They’re not wearing costumes because they didn’t realize that they’d want to go — nor how badly.

Give them big bars. Don’t tell them they’re too old. They already know that.

Let them pretend it just isn’t so.

I’ll never look at those too-old, too-tall boys in quite the same way. Especially my son. May he trick-or-treat forever, whether it’s in his sister’s tutu, or a red hooded sweatshirt.

How about you? Any cusp-y Halloweeners at your house?


Bake It Happen 2014- raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research!

bake it happen

It’s October, which is important for two reasons: it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s the season to eat as many pumpkin-flavored things as possible.

Since these are two admirable endeavors, I’m combining them into one delicious awareness- and money-raising endeavor by participating in Bake It Happen again this year.

Bake it Happen was started by fellow blogger Shari of My Judy the Foodie. Shari’s mother Judy was a terrific cook who died of metastatic breast cancer six years ago this month. Shari’s blog is her way of remembering her mother by making (and sharing) all her recipes, and Shari came up with this fundraiser as a way to spread some love, some awareness, and some funds for the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation, which donates directly to organizations conducting searches for a cure to breast cancer.

Here’s how to participate in Bake it Happen this month:

1) sign up at Bake It Happen with your email address to get three great recipes.

2) share the yumminess with someone you love, and snap a photo.

3) upload that photo to Facebook (tagged @bakeithappen) or email to $2 will be donated to the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation every time someone posts or emails a Bake it Happen photo during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

4) your post or email will enter you to win an iPad Mini & three months of a Baked by Melissa Mini of the Month Club Membership, ensuring continued deliciousness for you and yours.

Totes easy.

At our house, we chose to make Judy’s Pumpkin Brownies.

maggie stirring

While my daughter and I cooked, I said some prayers for two women I know who are fighting breast cancer right now– a high school friend, and the wife of another old friend. For each of them, I breathed in fear and breathed out peace.

This morning, all three kiddos were off to school with pumpkin brownies (nut-free, natch) for their favorite teachers.



connor bake it happen

seamus bake it happenmaggie bake it happen

Easy and fun. Love shared, money raised. Please join me in Baking it Happen this October!