City of Virginia Changes Trick-or-Treating Law

Guess some kids are too old to go trick-or-treating. That was the city of Chesapeake’s mindset as they decided for its residence to ban treat-or-tricking for anyone over 12-years old. One year later, and the city has now changed the maximum age to 14-years old and removed the possibility of facing jail time.

No trick-or-treating for everyone?

City of Virginia Changes Trick-or-Treating Law

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According to the city of Chesapeake’s ordinance code, anyone over the age of 12-years old caught participating in trick-or-treating would’ve been found “guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $25.00 nor more than $100.00 or by confinement in jail for not more than six months or both.” The law was placed mainly due to fear of teenagers smashing pumpkins and stealing. USA Today added in on the story, writing that the law had been around since 1970. Although children age 12 and under were free to dress in costume and ask for their favorite candies, teenagers were underneath a microscope. Chesapeake’s website had to clarify the law, stating while it was safe for a child and his or her older sibling to go out during Halloween, “taking pumpkins from porches and smashing them in the street” would’ve resulted in a severe consequence. The implication being that teenagers weren’t disciplined enough to be out on Halloween.


Not the first time it happen

City of Virginia Changes Trick-or-Treating Law

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Chesapeake’s decision isn’t the first time we saw an element of Halloween frowned upon by city officials. In 2009, Tennessee lawmaker Rep. Stacey Campfield was escorted out of a University of Tennessee home football game for wearing a Luchador’s mask. The incident took place on Halloween.

According to USA Today, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Ford, and Maryville have similar anti-mask ordinances law, which prevents kids over specific ages from treat-or-trick. Knoxville’s anti-mask ordinance also removes the wearing of masks in public areas. If someone with a Michael Myers mask came walking inside a McDonald’s on Halloween in any one of these towns, they’d probably spark mass hysteria and would get thrown out immediately. Even Jamie Lee Curtis wouldn’t be a scarier match for Michael in these circumstances.


What has changed?

City of Virginia Changes Trick-or-Treating Law

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Fast forward a year, and the law has now changed somewhat. The ordinance now has a maximum age of 14-years old and does not include any jail time. No more do parents have to worry about finding their kids behind bars with a sack full of Skittles and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Although teenagers could still face a Class 4 misdemeanor, they wouldn’t have to spend their Halloween night scared and frightened with a bunch of strangers. Oddly enough, that’s the whole idea of Halloween. City officials have promised they wouldn’t bother trick-or-treating teens, as long as they won’t cause any trouble.

The previous law sparked debate and discussion among social media users. One man commented on the situation, sharing how his wife of 36-years of age loved to out trick-or-treating and dress up while handing out candy to children. A 2016 non-scientific poll regarding the age limits for trick-or-tricking revealed that 73 percent of people considered between ages 12-17 to be too old for this activity. Whatever the case, you can be sure that Chesapeake’s officers will be keeping a sharp eye on those teenagers dressed up as Pennywise the dancing clown this year.

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