Trick or Treating Teens

My husband once said, years ago, to a group of boys who came to our door one Halloween night, “Aren’t you guys a little old to trick or treat?” He handed them candy and they laughed, but I was appalled that he would even say that! Especially to a bunch of boys who chose to trick or treat, and have some fun, over being at a party or getting into trouble.

As a parent with young children, we don’t often know or see the ‘behind-the-scenes” life of a household with teenagers. My husband didn’t get it then, but he sees it now. Although this sentiment has been shared before by many, sometimes you just need to see yourself in 10 years or so.

This is me. This is my house.

I’m watching an almost-15-year-old try to figure out his place. He’s on the brink of childhood and becoming an adult. He wants to be accepted, like every-other child, but what is too much? What crosses the line?

Is throwing on a costume tonight going to be too childish? Will I get made fun of? These are the thoughts he does not verbally share with me, but I see it loud and clear when he thinks over his choices. No, no costume for him this year. He thinks he may just stay-home. Cautiously, I broach the subject again, reminding him of the fun he has always had. Invite your friends, I say. They have always enjoyed running through the neighborhood, getting candy, and coming home to weigh it to see who collected the most. Our living rooms are filled with neighbors and piles of candy stacked up to get traded. Offers began, chaos ensues. Everyone is having fun.

Don’t grow up too soon, I plead. Adulthood is not as much fun. I remind him of that.

Friends are coming over tonight. I’m pretty sure they all will head out, but I’m also quite certain that a basketball jersey will be his costume. His friends, who are a great group of guys, are wearing ski-masks. They are trying to figure it out. It’s better than nothing, right?

So tonight, when the awkward, trying-too-hard, goofy, semi-costumed teens come to your door…show grace.

They have uncertainty and embarrassment flowing through their veins.

They may not say Trick or Treat with much vigor, or they may say it extra loud, because sometimes being goofy covers up that awkward feeling. They will be at your door for less than 30 seconds. Please tolerate them. Not rudeness, of course, but I’ve found teens aren’t rude when met with a smile. Goofiness, yes. That’s typically 100% of the time, especially in groups.

Please know, the kindness and smile you greet them with tonight, when they ring your doorbell, costumed- or- not, will be appreciated…by them and by moms of teens everywhere.

To close out before I step off my soap-box, I saw this meme today and chuckled.

Stay safe and Happy Halloween!


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