Town Ordinance Threatens Jail Time To Kids Over 12 Who Trick-Or-Treat

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Image via Istock/Getty Images/HRScene

There are some whacky laws on the books for teens who want to trick-or-treat

Halloween is upon us and kids are getting excited to show off their costumes and trick-or-treat, but in one Virginia town, kids over age 12 are being excluded from the time-honored tradition — and threatened with fines or even jail time if they decide to partake.

Yes, we’re serious.

If you’re a teenager (or older) but a kid at heart and happen to live in Cheasapeake, Virginia, you’re going to want to slow your roll with any thoughts of trick or treating. The town has had an ordinance in place for years that prohibits anyone above their legal trick-or-treat age from participating in the festivities. Someone screenshot the insane rule and it went viral on Facebook — because it’s literally unbelievable that it’s real.

“If any person over the age of 12 years shall engage in the activity commonly known as ‘trick or treat’ or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever, he or she shall be 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,” it reads.

Oh boy.

So a 14-year-old who decides to politely go door to door in hopes of a few Snickers could possibly end up doing six months in the clink? That ain’t right. Frankly, neither is their Halloween “curfew” of 8pm that deems anyone out candy-gathering after the appointed hour “guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $10.00 nor more than $100.00 or by confinement in jail for not more than 30 days or both.”

Like, let me get this straight — if an overly excited pair of sixth graders lose track of time and knock on a couple of doors around 8:15pm, some cranky asshole could call the cops and they could end up being charged with a misdemeanor? What even in the hell.

To be clear, these nutty ordinances aren’t only a thing in Cheasapeake — there are several Virginia towns that have rules on the books stating anyone over age 12 could be charged with a class 4 misdemeanor for the “crime” of trick-or-treating. That would only carry a fine and no potential jail time, but still — WTF?

Look — out one side of our collective mouths, we worry that kids are growing up too fast. With their iThings and wide knowledge of the world, they have a maturity most of didn’t as young teens. If we want them to stay “little” a little longer, let them freaking trick-or-treat. If a handful of teens misbehave, don’t ruin it for all of the excitable middle schoolers (or even high schoolers *slowly raises hand*) who want to have a little child-like fun.

Besides, do we want teens involved in trick-or-treating or sitting around bored, coming up with other things to do that will likely cause a lot more trouble? I welcome trick-or-treating teens to my door with open arms. As long as they’re relatively polite and not causing anyone harm, I see no issue.

They have their entire adult lives for things to be dreary and miserable. Let them pretend for one night that they’re still little — because innocent fun should always be encouraged, no matter your age.

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