You know the drill. In the early hours of the evening, Halloween is an explosion of cute. Little ninja turtles, fairy princesses, and Frozen characters flock sheepishly to your door to fill their buckets and pillowcases. But by 8 p.m., the crowd suddenly begins to age 10 or 12 years. “Aren’t you a little old for trick-or-treating?” you wonder, but bite your tongue to spare your house some midnight vandalism.
This year, some cities are turning the nuisance of teenage trick-or-treaters into an actual offense. One town in Virginia is even imposing possible jail time for adolescents who dare ring your bell in search of sweets.
“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,” reads a city ordinance in Chesapeake, Virginia. The law also bans trick-or-treating by anyone after 8 p.m.
Similar laws have sprung up in Newport News, Norfolk, and New Brunswick, Canada. And even though Chesapeake authorities insist they won’t really be arresting anyone who merely wants some candy, people are calling the laws mean-spirited and ridiculous.
Here’s hoping that the Halloween Grinches who crafted these ordinances (and others like them) find some spooky, wicked magic that helps their hearts grow three sizes this Halloween so their local teens can enjoy trick-or-treating while they’re still... https://t.co/PVXO6sUOqA— Hollie Schultz (@BabyGizmo) October 9, 2018
If a 23-year-old shows up at my door trick-or-treating, I'm giving them candy, only a monster gets mad at a teenage trick-or-treater. https://t.co/kglj0Uv8aN— Jeff Fecke (@jkfecke) October 10, 2018
Here’s a tip. If you don’t want teenage trick-or-treaters at your door, do what the rest of us do: turn off the lights, pretend you ran out of candy, and polish off a bowl of kit kats in bed.