Lance Hamner: Even ‘big kids’ deserve to go trick-or-treating

Some adults don’t like to see teens trick-or-treating on Halloween. I’m not one of them.

Where we live, we see a lot of trick-or-treaters. And every year we see a fair number of teenagers dressed up as anything from a pirate to a princess. Usually, they’re with other kids their age. They’re always laughing and giggling and having a great time. They almost always say “thank you” for the treat.

However, I know from talking to young people that some adults aren’t very friendly to the teenage trick-or-treaters. I realize some folks think they’re too old and perhaps that the big kids are encroaching on the little people’s turf. Some adults give the teenagers dirty looks or even lecture them, telling them they’re too old for it. I disagree.

We all remember the transition from little kid to big kid. It was an exciting time, to be sure. Everyone wanted to get as old as possible and quickly as possible for obvious reasons. You got to stay up later. You got to go to dances. You got to drive. Life just got better and better.

But with each passing year, you saw thrills and excitement slipping away as well. As you got a little older the part of your brain that thinks logically started connecting dots that you didn’t necessarily want to see connected. If someone hadn’t told you, you soon figured out the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus … they were all Mom and Dad.

But there was still Halloween. Wonderful, exciting Halloween. You didn’t have to believe in mythical people and creatures to enjoy the fall colors of orange and black. You still got to dress up as anything you wanted to be. You still got to go out at night with friends or siblings. You still got to collect candy at every door. What a wonderful holiday!

It was a part of the thrill of childhood that seemed to linger just a little longer. So, it was the final childhood thrill you had to give up.

And that’s what I think of when I see teenagers trick-or-treating. I don’t see oversized kids trying to intrude on the turf of the little ones. I see big kids who were recently little kids — clinging to a vestige of their childhood.

Look at their faces when you open the door. You can see it. They loved their childhood, and they’re hanging on just a little longer.

I don’t want to begrudge them that. Let them be kids. They’re not hurting anything. They’re not out stealing or vandalizing. They’ll grow up soon enough.

So come by our house on Halloween, kids. Little ones, medium ones, big ones. Let’s take a look at that costume. Let’s see if we can figure out whose son or daughter you are. Reach in the bowl and take Kit Kat and a Skittles.


Lance D. Hamner is judge of Johnson County Superior Court 3. Send comments to [email protected].