A town in Virginia is gaining attention after it was revealed it would ban children 14 years and older from taking part in annual Halloween trick-or-treating. The town, Chesapeake, Virginia, has an ordinance in place that states anyone over the age of 14 who takes part in trick-or-treating is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $250. According to the City of Chesapeake code of ordinances, those who roam the streets seeking candy after 8 p.m. can also be found guilty of the same charge.
Despite the strict rule, Chesapeake spokesperson Heath Covey told CNN that to date, not a single person has been arrested, fined, or jailed.
"Anyone over 14 who trick or treats in Chesapeake will not receive anything but candy," Covey told the outlet. "Say for example a 17-year-old kid and his 12-year-old sister both go trick or treating. The only problem that 17-year-old is going to have is deciding who's going to get to keep the Snickers."
"We want every person in Chesapeake to have a fun and safe Halloween. This ordinance will not prevent them from doing that," he continued, explaining that the ordinance is meant to "keep people safe" and that police will only intervene should "something malicious" occur, such as pumpkin smashing.
The ordinance was reportedly put in place 49 years ago after a violent Halloween in 1968 that saw people throwing firecrackers into trick or treaters' Halloween bags in a city in the Hampton Roads region.
Introduced in 1970, the ordinance said that children 12 years and older could face possible jail time if they were caught trick-or-treating.
"All cities in the Hampton Roads region, which Chesapeake is a part of, passed an ordinance that said if you were older than 12, you can be subject to an arrest, a fine, and/or jail time," Covey explained.
The ordinance, however, gained widespread outcry last year, with Jimmy Kimmel even mocking the ban. The backlash, Covey explained, prompted the city to revisit the law. In March, they officially raised the maximum age to 14 and dropped the jail provision altogether.
The question of what age is too old for annual Halloween festivities has long been a topic of conversation during the month of October, though few towns go as far as creating ordinances such as Chesapeake. Many social media users encourage those passing out candy to toss a piece into the bag of every person who comes to their door, pointing out that trick-or-treating is a much more innocent act than other things teenagers could be getting themselves into.0comments