Children over the age of 12 in Chesapeake, Virginia, will face fines and jail time if they’re caught trick-or-treating this year.
What are the details?
According to Chesapeake’s town code, any child age 13 and over could see up to six months in jail and be subject to fines ranging anywhere from $25 to $100.
The code states: “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 website stipulates that an older child taking a younger child trick-or-treating is OK.
“According to the City of Chesapeake, police will focus on making sure the evening is safe for everyone, not actively seeking out violations of the time or age limits,” the website reads. “For example, a thirteen year old safely trick or treating with a younger sibling is not going to have any issues.”
“That same child taking pumpkins from porches and smashing them in the street more likely will,” the site adds.
The code notes that the town’s trick-or-treat hours are between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Other areas in Virginia have adopted similar regulations.
For example, the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg/James City County, and York County all have the 12-years-old age limit. However, these cities and counties don’t have jail time for violators.
York County even went as far as to promise that no children will go to jail for trick-or-treating on their York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
A Monday post by a Facebook user inquired about local regulations on trick-or-treating. The user wrote, “This article is going around on Facebook, and it mentions some scary Halloween laws in our area! We just moved here and I was hoping you can tell me if this is true or not! Thank you!”
In response, the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office said, “No one is going to jail in York County for trick or treating. We will post some information as we get closer to Halloween.”
While the sheriff’s office was quick to point out that no one would be arrested for trick-or-treating, they shared a follow-up posting on their page the next day.
The posting read, “Trick-or-treating in York County is permitted for residents age 12 and under until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31. Have a happy and safe Halloween!”