Has Halloween Turned Into A Pumpkin?

ImageWhen is that magic, tragic age when your child is simply too old for trick or treating?  I suppose when your son is the only power ranger in the neighbourhood with facial hair, it’s probably time.  But how do you gently tell them the sugar shack is closed?  

I guess it’s just another in a string of lousy growing pains all kids have to endure.  As I watched mine cobweb our front porch today (almost a full, candy-manic month ahead of schedule), I found myself remembering my own bumpy transition out of trick or treating.

I had invited a boy to a Halloween dance the year I turned thirteen.  It was the first time I’d ever asked a boy out on a date and my voice was shaking so hard on the phone as I rolled out my alluring invitation that it’s possible I may have been having a grand mal seizure.

“Hi Jacob?  It’s Andie.”


“Uh … Andrea?”  Breathe, just breathe.

“Oh.  Hi Andrea.”

“Hey, hi.  Um … I was just, uh … wondering if you’d like toooo … go to The Route with me?

“The what?”

“The Route?  It’s my school’s Halloween dance?”

Universe-imploding silence.

(Whispered to his mother) “No … but I don’t want to hurt her feelings!”

“Uh … sorry, I can’t.  Me and a bunch of the guys are actually going trick or treating that night.”

“Really!  Okay, well … have fun!”  I oozed, sliding down the wall before slumping to the floor in a giant heap of KILL ME NOW.

Alright, I’ll admit my feelings were a tad hurt (cue mushroom cloud explosion), and that any chance of having a happy Halloween had just vanished as quickly as the five Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups I inhaled moments later.

But what bothered me most, beyond the soul-shattering rejection, was the fact that I had been duped into believing that thirteen was too old to go trick or treating, when clearly in some circles, it simply was not.

No doubt about it; aging sucked.

All these years later that memory still bubbles up around Halloween, particularly as I see my eldest getting older.  But this year the scene has been softened somewhat, thanks to Facebook.  I recently read that after living in Europe for the past decade, Jacob’s now back in Toronto living happily with his partner David and their two Jack Russells.

I’ll bet they give out great treats on Halloween.

28 replies
  1. releaf1954
    releaf1954 says:

    My grandson is now fourteen and towering over his mother’s head. This may be the year, but I fear he is not ready to let it go. Halloween is big in our family. When my grandson was young and my daughter still looked very young herself, she got me to go along when they went Trick-or-Treating so I could be the designated grown-up and she could still get some treats! 🙂 Sorry about the Halloween Dance. You just never forget something like that.

    • Andie Duncan
      Andie Duncan says:

      Funny the things that get seared into our memory. In hindsight, it was pretty sweet of him to be so concerned about hurting my feelings. Nice kid. Nice man, I hear. Thanks for your note!

  2. ohlidia
    ohlidia says:

    What a sweet post! My 13-year old daughter talks about her costume for trick-or-treating… I remember being that age too and wondering if I still could? I know I wanted to… so I’m all for it!

  3. Escaping Elegance
    Escaping Elegance says:

    Sad but sweet story. I remember being in Grade 10, giving out the treats at my house when some boys from grade 11 showed up with pillow cases in hand. They were’t even dressed up! That was just pathetic.

    I now kind of like to see older kids dressed up knocking on doors. They are having fun and what’s the harm?

    • Andie Duncan
      Andie Duncan says:

      We get the pillow case-laden teens in our hood too, which I’m good with as long as they’re dressed up and enthusiastic. It’s the ones that show up in sweatshirts holding out hefty bags that kinda turn me off.

  4. Ned's Blog
    Ned's Blog says:

    I have a rubber Frankenstein mask I got from Universal Studios when I was 12. I still wear it when walking with my kids (12, 14, 14) on Halloween. Aside from the fact that my head apparently hasn’t grown since I was 12, I don’t think dressing up on Halloween even as an adult is weird. If you’re ever in the states, you’re welcome to join us. Or we could come to Toronto and trick-or-treat at Jacob’s house…

  5. Gifts By La Bella Baskets
    Gifts By La Bella Baskets says:

    I for one thing little to 18 is fine. After all you’re still a kid up until that point and they might as well enjoy their last year of being a “kid” I loved it when teens come to my door. Most of them have been a fun hoot. All ages up to 18 are welcome to knock on my door and trick or treat.

  6. cooper
    cooper says:

    never too old to TorT – I’m going this year as a middle aged man stuck in a mid-life crisis. I wonder how many gold chains I can fit around my neck….

  7. gus
    gus says:

    Out near our place, in Montreal, there seem to be fewer and fewer kids trick or treating every year. I would be happy for the teens to come, just someone come and get all that candy we buy every year!

  8. sherry1169
    sherry1169 says:

    That is really funny. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only mom with a teen who really wants to go trick or treating. I told her she was too old… hmmm… may have to rethink that one. 😉

      • Valarie Kinney
        Valarie Kinney says:

        My 17 & 16 yr olds are planning to go. I don’t really care how old the kid is as long as they make some kind of costume effort. My four kids get really into costuming so they always go out the door dressed up.
        My problem is the thirty something year old woman who shows up with a giant bag and tells me she is trick or treating “for her six kids who are home sick.”
        At that point, I think you’ve crossed the line from trick or treating to grocery shopping.

  9. cheryl
    cheryl says:

    Buwaaahhhhh!! “a giant heap of kill me now”. You rock lady. My granddaughter and I were talking about trick or treating (she’s 11) and she wants me to dress up as an old lady (hehehehe) and go with her. I’m gonna do it to. Do you know how expensive Kit Kats and Reeses Cups are? Great story as always!

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