When It is Time to Hang Up the Pillowcase

Most days of the year, knocking on random people’s doors in costume and asking for candy could earn you a ride to the police station. But during  Oct. 31, the rules are a little different. Trick-or-treating is a yearly tradition in which soliciting is highly encouraged. Parents escort their kids throughout the neighborhoods, so they can shout, “trick or treat!” at strangers. These beaming children receive candy that is placed in a pillowcase that they will rifle through back at home. This trick-or-treating process is how the evening of Halloween normally operates. But at what age do you start to reconsider participating in the yearly tradition?

For most, the decision to cease dressing up in costumes and asking for treats transpires during middle school. Suddenly, it is embarrassing to toddle about with your parents for a night. All the older kids are having Halloween parties and dressing even edgier now. Some might have passed through that embarrassing stage and now are in high school. You want the candy, but the neighbors look at you funny when they open the door and see a — an almost — grown adult. Is it time to throw in the pillowcase and give up the candy endeavors?

There are a couple of simple rules to follow to know if you, in fact, should be finished with trick-or-treating.

  1. Are you taller than 6 feet?

If your head could scrape the top of the doorway, it is time to stop. You have had enough nutrients during your lifetime, since you’re over 6 feet tall. Unless you are good at crouching, let another short kid have the candy. You can have the short end of the stick for once.

  1. Do you have a master’s degree?

If you have a master’s degree, then you can pay for your own candy. Trick-or-treating should be defined as stealing, as far as you are concerned.

  1. Are your Halloween costumes leaning toward being more. . . provocative?

The fewer clothes, the less you should be asking strangers for any favors. Sexy costumes are awesome but could be potentially jarring for an elementary school child. A party is the best destination for this type of costume debut.

  1. Do you have facial hair?

I know some people get facial hair early in life, so this could be controversial. But, if you have a full-grown mustache or beard, it is time to stop. Unless it’s a part of the costume itself, facial hair is disturbing to look at. No one wants to see a bearded ghoul. 

  1. Have you been invited to other Halloween celebrations?

If you have an invite to a party, go to it! There’s no point in trick-or-treating when you have a real party to go to. And at this point, if no one has invited you to a party or a gathering with friends, it is time to reevaluate your life choices. You can go to or host a party!


If the answers to these five questions are no, you are safe to spend one more year out on the streets. Make sure to shave — if applicable — and hunch over so you can keep mooching off your neighbors. Happy trick-or-treating!