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Too Old to Trick-or-Treat?

When my boys were little—and I’m talking really little—I made sure they were properly outfitted for trick-or-treating. For his first Halloween, my oldest wore an adorable pumpkin outfit complete with a little cap that had a stem on it. He was 4 months old and, even though I had to ring the doorbell for him because he was napping, we visited one house—my mom’s.

My second son was just shy of 1 week when I dressed him in the cutest pumpkin onesie. The only thing scary about him was his diaper.

And so it went with the rest of my guys. They hit the streets young, going door-to-door, dressed as everything from M&M's to dinosaurs to hobbits, holding out plastic pumpkins into which kindly neighbors would deposit all manner of goodies.

Each year, a new superhero costume beckoned for my older guys while my younger ones rummaged through the hand-me-downs. But they didn’t care. It was so fun to dress up and run around the neighborhood in the dark with their friends and have a loot of candy to show for it by the time they came home. That is, until about middle school. Then, it just wasn’t cool anymore. Trick-or-treating, it seemed, was for babies.

That revelation, however, never rang true for my fourth son, who also happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome. Now a high school freshman and taller than his older brothers, he still loves Halloween and all that goes with it—including trick-or-treating.

While I’m usually the one that makes the rounds with him and my youngest son, now 10, I try to imagine what it would be like to answer my door on Halloween and find a 6-foot-tall ghoul (or ghost or vampire) grinning at me, pillow case in hand.

To tell you the truth, I’d be pretty creeped out and might not even answer the door. Or, if I did, I might reluctantly hold out my candy bowl while asking, “Aren’t you a little too old to be trick-or-treating?”

Nonetheless, I’m not about to tell my kind-hearted, albeit naïve, son that he cannot take part in an event he looks forward to all year long. While the only downside I can think of is having to fork over the cost of an adult-sized costume—this year he is leaning toward Robin Hood—I can’t think of a good reason to keep him home.

Sure, some parents may think I’m using my son to get my bite-sized Snickers fix. To some extent, they may be right. After all, he does have braces and cannot enjoy their chewy goodness for another six months. But before you judge me, answer me this—how am I any different from the mothers who pull infants dressed as adorable butterflies or snap peas in wagons door-to-door?

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