Virginia Towns Want To Jail Trick-Or-Treaters Over Age 12
We're not making this up, we promise.
According to a regional website, the city of Chesapeake, Virginia has some pretty strict rules regarding the public celebration of Halloween. Getting dressed up and going door-to-door for candy is a misdemeanor for anyone over 12 years old, and penalties range from fines of $25-$100 to up to 6 months in jail. Furthermore, anyone caught trick-or-treating after 8pm is also guilty of a misdemeanor and can be subjected to fines of $10-$100 and up to 30 days in jail. Yes. Really.
Read it and weep:
Sec. 46-8. – Trick-or-treat activities.
(a) 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.
(b) If any person shall engage in the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever after 8:00 p.m., he or she shall be 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.
(Code 1970, § 17-13.1; Ord. of 10-26-70)
We can't just feel bad for the kids in Chesapeake - several of the surrounding towns have similarly harsh rules.
Kids trick-or-treating past the age of 12 in Newport, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach are also guilty of various misdemeanors. Newport takes the rule a little further by forbidding parents or guardians from wearing a mask of any kind. Zorro, Robin, and Mr. Incredible need not apply.
Halloween used to be about the dark and demonic, but in the last hundred years it's been commercialized to a fare-thee-well and become a lot safer. We get one chance every year to run around at night in a funny costume without getting arrested for being a loon. Is it really necessary to restrict the fun for everyone over the wee age of 12?
Abolish these ridiculously strict rules and let the 14-year-olds in on the fun! Let the candy flow past 8pm! Let dad wear his supersuit!
What do you guys think? Is this an un-American restriction of personal freedoms on what should be the greatest dress-up street party of the year? Or are these rules necessary to keep trouble-making teens off the streets? How old were you when you stopped trick-or-treating?