How Old Is Too Old to Wear a Halloween Costume?

Some say the limit does not exist

girl is playing at the Halloween party, covering their faces with Jack O'Lantern
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Allie Jones

Somehow today’s date is October 22. How did that happen? At this point, it doesn’t matter — the important thing to note is that Halloween is in 9 days. And the parties will start even before that. If you are an adult reading this post, you might be thinking, Oh shit, I have to get a costume now.

Or do you?

Personally, I think Halloween is for children, and after that, it’s for college students drinking underage. If you’re over 21, you don’t need to worry about a costume. Worry about your bills or lower back pain instead. (Before someone with a Harry Potter reference in their Twitter bio freaks out: You can absolutely still wear a costume on Halloween or whenever you feel like it. You just run the risk of someone looking at you and thinking, You’re too old.)

Not everyone agrees. In a scientific poll of my brilliant colleagues, some argued you are “never” too old to wear a Halloween costume, while others set the age limit as low as 10. Representing the “nevers,” Kelly Conaboy said, “It has taken me a long time to figure out how I felt about this, but I guess I feel like one night of dressing like an idiot is fair enough for everybody regardless of age.”

Brandy Jensen concurred, for practical reasons. “I live in New Orleans and would be run out of town if I suggested it was ever inappropriate for adults to wear costumes,” she said.

Meanwhile, Jocelyn Silver argued that “old people in costumes are very cute.”

“I don't think anyone is obligated to dress up, but I don't think you ever have to stop, either,” she added.

Others took a hard line. Our fearless leader, Leah Finnegan, said people should stop dressing up for Halloween at 15 — “the age at which you need to start respecting yourself.” Sarah Hagi gave a bit more leeway, setting the upper limit at 25. “It just feels embarrassing to imagine any of my friends over the age of 25 wearing costumes for Halloween, unless they have kids and are trick or treating with them,” she explained.

Considering these answers, I found myself agreeing with all of them for a few seconds. But I was most convinced by Darcie Wilder’s argument that Halloween stops after age 10.

“I stopped dressing up at 11 due to 9/11 occurring the previous month,” she said. “Therefore 10 years old is the final year to appropriately dress up for Halloween.”

Hard to argue with that.