trick or treating

We’re not sure what’s going on in Chesapeake, Virginia, but it seems they’ve got a problem with trick or treating, especially if you’re over the age of 14.

A city ordinance has been under scrutiny since it was passed. The ordinance originally read as follows:

“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.”

The city has since updated its policy raising the age limit to 14 years of age and removed the threat of jail time, though it seems the fine is still in place. Trick or treaters should also note that approved hours of trick or treating are 6 pm to 8 pm.

Right now, we’re just shaking our heads.

On the city’s official website it states that they will not be actively seeking out violators of the ordinance giving the example that if a 15 year old is taking their younger sibling out for the night, they will, of course, be fine.

It seems that the ordinance was put in place to try to get a handle on mischief makers and pumpkin smashers, but if so, then why not just write the ordinance to address that instead of a blanket ban with an age restriction?

What’s more shocking is that Chesapeake isn’t the only city in Virginia with such restrictions. Norfolk and Newport both have similar ordinances on the books. A little more digging turned up the same kinds of restrictions in other states, as well!

Maybe I’m just getting old. I know that a lot has changed since I was kid, but putting a two hour time limit on trick or treating and making violations a class four misdemeanor seems just a little off the chain to me.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown would have ended very differently if Linus and Sally had gotten busted by the cops for hanging out past curfew in the pumpkin patch.