When should I let my child go trick or treating on their own?

What age is best for kids to trick or treat without a parent present? Is there a legal age limit? We’ve asked MFM mums what they think...

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With Halloween fast approaching, your little one is probably itching to get their costume on and head out trick or treating.

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But if your little one isn’t so little anymore, when’s a good time to let them go trick or treating on their own, or with their friends – but without a parent present?

What our mums said

Well, we asked loads of you on Instagram, and the majority of parents told us their child would have to be at least 12.

The most common answers we had were ages 12 and 13 – though one mum admitted they’d have to be with friends.

“13 I reckon – they need to be a bit street smart! (I’d probably follow them in disguise)” says Mumma Dee.

We had a fair few 14, 15s, 16s and 18s, too. Only a couple of people said they’d consider letting their child go trick-or-treating solo at 10 years old.

We also had one mum who said she’d be fine to let them go alone aged 7.

Would you ever let them go alone?

Approximately a third of our mums said they’d NEVER let their child trick or treat on their own, with Shanny S admitting: “It’s scary out there.”

A few – including one mum on our team – said they wouldn’t, because once they’re old enough to go alone (post-primary school, perhaps), they’re probably a bit too old for it anyway.

“Never, once they are old enough to be out alone they shouldn’t be knocking on doors,” says Mrs H.

And Em L agrees: “I wouldn’t. If they are old enough to go without me, they’re old enough to stop!”

“Sadly I wouldn’t at all!” adds Claire H. “I’d have myself there all the time. I’d be too worried.”

What the expert says

Educational psychologist Naomi Burgess agrees with our mums above – and reckons that little ones are probably best off being accompanied by an adult. She says:

“Did you know 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.”

Keep in mind that Naomi also reckons as early teens, many kids will shy away from trick or treating. This is when most of our mums said they’d let their children go alone, so it’s kind of a cycle, really!

By time they’re old enough to go alone, they’re probably already on to the next thing… Halloween parties with their friends ?

Is there a legal age for trick or treating?

Trick or treating’s perfectly legal, and there’s no legal age limit on when they can or can’t go, or when to let them go with friends.

Though if your child’s under 16, you’ll be liable to pay any fines if there’s any anti-social behaviour going on. Eep ?

We’d add here that there’s no real right or wrong answer to when to let your child trick or treat alone. It all really depends on where you live, how well you know your neighbours, if their friends are going with them – and how mature your child is.

Have your say

What’s your answer to this question? Is it something you’ve struggled to decide? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: Getty Images

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