Though one is never too old to get into the Halloween spirit, a number of communities across the country have decided to enforce trick-or-treat age restrictions. And those who are brave enough to violate the order will risk some serious consequences.
For example, the city of Chesapeake, Virginia, declares that anyone over the age of 12 is legally prohibited from going door-to-door seeking free candy. The ordinance code states anyone who breaks the order could be slapped with a $100 fine, a misdemeanor charge, and up to six months in jail. Yup, a child could be locked up for simply for participating in the time-honored tradition.
According to the Associated Press, local governments in Maryland, South Carolina, and Mississippi have implemented similar restrictions, which have understandably sparked outrage among both kids and parents. There’s even a petition calling for a repeal of the Chesapeake law.
The petition reads in part:
Sure, there are a few bad apples out there who are more interested in the trick part of Halloween, rather than the treat — but should that ruin the fun for everyone? And should a minor ever face jail time for something as innocuous as trick-or-treating? We don't think so.
The City of Chesapeake has issued a statement in response to the criticism, pointing out that the trick-or-treat age limit has been in place for 45 years.
“In that time, no one has been arrested or charged with any crime under this Ordinance. Chesapeake Police officers will not impede persons who are clearly over the age of 12 from trick or treating, provided that they are doing so in an otherwise lawful, safe, and secure manner,” the statement reads. “[…] The Ordinance, which mirrors that of the other Hampton Roads cities and many communities around the country, was and is intended to promote a safe, secure, fun experience for all.”
Though it seems unlikely that any violators will be placed behind bars, many people have taken to Twitter to express their opposition. Check out some of the responses below.