Teenage Trick-Or-Treaters Will Be Locked Up, According To Town Ordinance

Oct 18, 2018 by apost team

"Aren't you a little old for trick-or-treating?"

At some point in a child's life, it is inevitable these words will be uttered at least once on one fateful October 31st. Trick-or-treating is an American tradition and beyond that brings joy and sugar to children all over. It is a chance to dress up as Batman or Rey and get candy from neighborhoods simply by showing up at door and saying three magic words.


However, there comes that time when adults stop looking at the Spider-Man standing at their door expecting bite-sized Snickers with adoration and instead question if it's time to hang up the mask and grow up. There's a general age range where these questions begin to be asked, though a concrete age can be hard to staple down.

Is it at 12 years old? Should it be 13? Should the cutoff date be upon entry into junior high or maybe high school? While in most places, the question is merely a philosophical one, one town in America has turned it into a legal one.


The Law is the Law...


The local government in Chesapeake, Virginia has a city ordinance that has banned trick-or-treating for people over the age of 12 years old since 1970. The city also places a curfew on Halloween night at 8 pm. Violations of these ordinances by teenagers can lead to a $100 fine and up to six months in jail. Similar Halloween laws are in place in nearby Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth as well.

In the Canadian city of Bathurst, the Halloween laws are in place that state anyone trick-or-treating over the age of 16 or after 8 pm could face a $200 fine. Previously, Bathurst had set the cutoffs at 14 years old and 7 pm. At the time the law was enacted, Mayor Mark Eckert was firm in his distaste of teenaged trick-or-treaters, reminiscing of his own father telling him when he was "too damn big" for the venture and stated violations to this notion require government intervention.

...except when it's not


While the Chesapeake's law concerning Halloween etiquette is firmly in place, the city is going out of its way to dissuade potential violators from panic. Chesapeake's own website stresses that, even though the ordinance has been in effect since the 70's, actual enforcement of that particular law is slim to nil.

The site states that the objective is merely ensuring safety for the younger kids out on Halloween and if an older brother is out trick-or-treating safely with a younger sibling, no police action will be necessary.

Bathurst's police force stated something similar, believing that kids of 16 or older shouldn't generally be worried as long as they are not being a nuisance or a threat to the younger children.

The Flip Side

While these laws are limited to a handful of cities and are generally lightly enforced, the notion that teenagers shouldn't be out trick-or-treating on Halloween is a common belief among adults. Nonetheless, another school of thought on the issue has recently been making the rounds on social media.

A viral Facebook post by the user Budget 101 has noted that teenagers innocently trick-or-treating then don't necessarily have the option to spend that time drinking and driving or engaging in other disreputable behavior.

The Debate Rages On


While the struggle to determine the appropriate age to stop trick-or-tricking has existed for decades, recent years have thrown even more ambiguity into it.

As geek culture has saturated the public, more and more everyday clothing has resembled Halloween costumes as shirts and hoodies resembling everything from Stormtroopers to Black Panther has become readily available to kids and adults alike.

As the line between kids entertainment and adult escapism continues to blur, expect more teenage Captain Americas and Harley Quinns running around on Halloween. Just let them know to be wary of what ordinances might affect them.

What do you think? Should older kids be allowed to trick or treat? Let us know in the comments and pass this on to your friends and family to get their opinions, too.