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Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults > Teens & Halloween
I have two young children but have recently become the guardian of a middle schooler. I plan to take my little ones out to trick-or-treat but the middle schooler balked at the thought of me accompanying him and his friends while they make the rounds. I'm wondering what other parents of this age do. Is it safe and normal for 13-year-olds to trick-or-treat without parental escort? Kim
My personal experience: When my kid was in 7th grade, I was not ready to let her roam with a group of kids on their own even though I trust my kid. One of the friends was really mad that I wouldn't let her go without a parent. Well, they led the way and a parent (not me) ''tagged along''. What happened...lots of fun, a little chaotic on where to go and a bag of candy split open all over the street. Could they have gone alone that year? Maybe, but I am glad they didn't. By the next year, 8th grade, WE were all ready and the kids went on their own with ground rules and all was fine. A year made a big difference. And the next year the issue was - aren't you too old for trick or treating? Response: an adamant NO, I am not too old to go trick or treating!'' Either way - Happy Halloween
On the other hand, when I was in my mid-teens, I enjoyed being the ''adult'' in charge of my younger siblings when they were trick-or-treating, so maybe if you put it in that light (''it would be so helpful if you would come with us''), the middle schooler would get to trick-or-treat without feeling he/she was being treated like a baby. Queen of Mean
Then groups of friends went together. The rules were to stay together, and depending on the size (and age) of the group, two or three parents would be the chaperones and discreetly monitor, sometimes from across the street and a few houses down.
If you've got little ones, two parents can be a grand plan, with one VERY discreetly monitoring the older ones and the other accompanying the little ones. You can trade off too. Good if everyone's on the same block,
The final stage, before high school, the plan was a small group of friends, and a parent at each end of the block the kids were on. Between two of us, they were in sight most of the time, and the kids were free to pretend that they were SO cool and ''on their own''. They had loud whistles, and unique and easily spotted costumes were also helpful.
The groups were either all girls or mixed girls and boys. I don't know what middle school boys will sign up for, but something in this range might be a good opener for planning and negotiation.
moving along this path over the years accustomed the kids to the fact that there would be parents watching out for them, and this was non-negotiable. Increasing the level of independence every year or two was more or less a reward for their cooperation on the way there. By high school age, the ones that still went out just had to accept guidelines: stay in the group, whistle around the neck, no matter how glamorous the costume, cell phone in the pocket, and consequences for breaking any of these rules. Having a few families involved seemed to help with ''enforcement'', and may have prevented some of the ''but everybody else...'' speeches.
It worked out more often than not. Sarah
The whole point of being a teen is to learn how to handle yourself in the world. With so many families out on the sidewalks, this is one of the safest nights to do this. peg
Help! Desperately seeking a source for Halloween costumes for my teen daughter. The halloween shops seem to carry nothing but variations on ''naughty nurse'' - even Marie Antoinette has a micro-mini skirt! Any ideas where she can find something a little more age-appropriate (or, as she describes it, ''non-slutty'')? Just looking for a fun costume that she can feel comfortable in. Thanks for the help. Searchin'
* think of a theme, then try to assemble something from home!
for years, my signature costume was ''martian'' -- i put together the wackiest combination of colors, odd outfit pieces, bright tights, weird sox, etc., and topped it all with antennae made from a wire dry-cleaner hanger topped with aluminum foil balls. [make the long part of the hanger into a semi-circle to go around the back of the head, under hair; do a zig-zag on the shorter pieces to serve as the antennae; get rid of the top hook part.]
''wings'' are available now at craft shows and probably also costume displays. but you can also make wings out of wire frames in the desired shape, netting or tights stretched over them [or, sturdy cardboard covered with whatever], and elastic to secure around the shoulders. also, fabric paint, glitter glue, feathers, etc. add decorative touches.
''witch'' and ''ghost'' are also easy to do, with whatever funny and creative twists her imagination comes up with. most stores are stocked now with little sets that can dress up a thrown-together costume [cat ears and tail; devil horns; witch hat; etc.]
* shop thrift shops! they have all kinds of clothing available. we used thrift shops when my daughter was in drama, to find pieces we could use or alter for period costumes. she might go in with some idea of what she wants, but just seeing the stuff there might inspire a theme, too. costume mom
Possibilities for other plants are endless--let them come up with some ideas. Or how about classical goddesses? Persephone could carry pomegranates, Neptunia could have seaweed for hair and carry a trident made from a plastic devil's fork spray painted gold and decorated with sea shells and she could wear a great cloak made from torn strips of shimmery blue and green fabric.... Halloween fan
Just wondering if there's an "official" age where it's not okay for kids to go trick-or-treating? Sometimes I get high-school kids at my door, and that's a little strange. My son's in 7th grade and he and his friends still want to go, but I think a different sort of activity might be more appropriate. What alternatives are there? What does the group think? Linda
I want to agree with the person who posted that they would be happy to have teens in costume at this holiday. Kids are young for such a short time. Who cares if they might seem rather mature for such an activity? If they act appropriately, don't hurt property or other revelers and are only after candy they are welcome in our neighborhood!
It is such a silly holiday as we have it today. Most people are unaware of the origins of Halloween and think it is a night to collect massive amounts of candy. I really don't care where the trickortreaters live or how old they are. They are welcome to the treats we are fortunate enough to be able to give. I couldn't bear to be the grouchy lady who refused to give them a treat and (possibly) made them feel bad.
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