a peek inside the fishbowl

30 Oct, 2018

A Halloween question

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life|parenting

Outdoor ornament

There are a lot of conversations about Halloween happening in the Interwebs right now, especially as it pertains to age: how old is too old etc. For the record, I have no problem giving candy to teenagers. I figure if they want to be a kid a little while longer, it’s ok in my books. But how do you feel about adults coming to your door? Like, alone? Without kids?

As much as I enjoy seeing everyone’s costumes, I don’t feel… how should I put this… charitable when I’m dishing out the candy.

One year a woman – very much a grown up – came to our door and held out her bag. (If memory serves, it may have even been a handbag.) We were handing out full-size candy bars that year. She waved down the street vaguely and said, “My kids are over there.” I felt like saying: “lady, go buy your own candy or raid your kid’s stash.” But of course, I didn’t. I dropped the candy in her bag without a word.

Candy isn’t cheap and we get a couple hundred kids to our door every year. I’d rather reserve it for the kids.

I believe Halloween is for everyone but that the trick or treating part should remain the domain of the younger set. Or maybe I’m just a grumpy old Scrooge. I’d love to hear what you think. Should adults be asking for candy at the door?


4 Responses to "A Halloween question"

1 | Mary @ Parenthood

October 30th, 2018 at 7:29 pm


Maybe that adult is lonely? Poor? Mentally ill? Was she dressed up at least?

I sort of feel like the point is indiscriminant generosity though. After all, kids don’t “need” candy at all and these days they get given quite a lot. Between various holidays and birthday parties I’d say my kids probably get given enough candy that they could eat multiple pieces every day if they spread it out. (Aka why we do switch witch)

My take is that you don’t have to give out expensive or vast quantities of candy. If you are doing full size candy bars, you can just give them to the kids you recognize and have something cheaper that you can give out to the random hordes. But I’m personally inclined to use the opportunity to connect with my neighbours from far and wide, and if the odd adult wants some candy, I’ll share it. But I’d probably make it clear it was for her and not her kids. If her kids want candy they can come show me their costumes lol

2 | Lynn

October 31st, 2018 at 12:22 pm


I do think that is weird, but I’d never be brave enough to outright refuse. After all, this odd person is standing at your door – they know where you live and it’s a night when pranks and vandalism are almost approved. So I’d just hand over the candy, but I’d feel free to tell all my friends in disbelief afterwards.

Maybe the most I’d manage to do is a small, pointed comment – “Getting a little old for this, aren’t you?” perhaps.

My own policy is that everyone who comes to my door gets candy without judgement (well, maybe not the adults, but certainly the teens) – but for my own kids, we have a strict Grade 8 cutoff. Both my older teens felt like “all their friends” were still going out in Grade 9 and some did come to our door. But I think it should be for younger kids and they can find something else to do.

3 | Claudette

October 31st, 2018 at 2:34 pm


I would have given her candy too. I wonder though, was she the only adult to come to your door? If it’s a whole bunch of adults, then I’d wonder what the heck was going on. But just one? There may have been something going on we don’t know.

My teen (13) is still in grade 8 so he’s still interested in trick or treating, but I have to say, the interest in candy trumps the interest in all the rest of it. My 11yo is so into the dress up, the costume, the parties, the decorations, all of it. For her it’s a whole thing, not just a candy thing…

But I hand out candy to all who come to the door. :)

4 | G

October 31st, 2018 at 8:44 pm


Adults should not be trick or treating. Period. I didn’t even know this was a thing…

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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