When can children go trick or treating on their own: what’s the law?

At what age can children trick or treating on their own - and does the law say anything about? Everything you need to know here, including expert advice from Educational Psychologist Naomi Burgess

Three boy in halloween costumes, standing at door, trick or treating, rear view

Lots of kids LOVE trick or treating – for the dressing up as much as for the sweets, we’re sure.

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But does an adult always need to accompany them? Or can children go around the neighbourhood unaccompanied for their Halloween fun?

We’ve checked out the UK law on trick or treating and spoken to an educational psychologist to get the lowdown on the trick or treating dos and don’ts.

What’s the UK law on the legal age for trick or treating?

Trick or treating’s perfectly legal at any age – and there’s no legal age limit on when children can or can’t go out on their own.

As far as the law’s concerned, the only thing you need to know is that, if your child’s under 16 years old, you’ll be liable to pay any fines if your child is involved in any chargeable anti-social behaviour.

So, in the end, there’s no real right or wrong answer: you have to judge what’s right for your child – depending on where you live, how well you know your neighbours, if your child’s friends are going with them, how long they’ll be out for, where they’ll be going – and how mature and streetsmart your child is.

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Truth be told, though, by the time you judge they’re old enough to go alone, they may well consider trick or treating too ‘babyish’ and be on to the next thing, like having Halloween parties with their friends…

‘Rules’ for any child who’s trick or treating (with or without you):

  • Don’t knock at a door without a pumpkin outside / or that’s not decorated
  • Remember that very old and very young people can be easily scared by masks and gory costumes
  • Don’t grab sweets, and always say thank you
  • Don’t eat sweets until you get home (so an adult can check through what they’ve been given)
  • Always carry a torch and a phone (or make sure the accompanying adult does)
  • Never have flour/eggs(they’re just too messy and people will get annoyed if you throw them)
  • Stay on well-lit streets in an area you know
  • Be traffic alert
  • Agree a time you’ll stop trick or treating and and come home

Trick or treating alone: what does the expert say?

Educational psychologist Naomi Burgess reckons that under-12s are probably best off being accompanied by an adult.

“Did you know,” she says, “that, when dressed up, children tend to be less inhibited and take more than one treat?

“And did you also know that the riskiest aspect of trick or treating is actually pedestrian motor accidents?

“So, bearing this in mind, I can’t really imagine you would want them to go alone.”

Pics: Getty

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