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When I was in the seventh grade, some of my friends talked me into trick-or-treating.  It had been a few years since I had been out.  The thrill had worn off three years before and I enjoyed staying at home and joining my parents in handing out candy.

I turned 13 years old three weeks before Halloween in 1975.  I had just finished dinner when my friends, Howie Hardy and Jim Clark, showed up.  They were in costumes and had bags.  They insisted I join them.  My mom said she didn’t have a problem (Jim and Howie were nice guys and knew we wouldn’t get into trouble).

I didn’t have a costume, but my dad had an orange raincoat he wore on rainy nights at accident scenes.  I grabbed the coat from a closet and slapped one of his Stetsons on my head.

After just a few blocks we stopped at the house and as a woman was giving us candy, a very angry older man came to the door and was shouting.  I remember exactly what he said.

When I was your age, I had a job!

From that point on I felt guilt.  Within an hour I had gone home and put the coat and hat back in the closet.  Nearly 50 years later and I can still remember the anger on the old man’s face.  He was of the age where it was obvious he had dragged himself through the Great Depression.

I would occasionally hear stories around town about little kids being harassed by older children.  Sometimes the older boys stole candy from the little ones.   Some towns now have a two-tiered system, mostly an honor system, where the younger boys and girls go out early and the troublemakers later.  Some towns have curfews and order everyone off the streets by a set time on Halloween night.

Do we also need regulations that also bar kids above the age of 12 from even taking part?  We all have to grow up at some point.

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