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