Trick or Treating Age Limits?

A young child trick or treating

A young child trick or treating

Debbie Lawhead, Staff Writer

A memory that many children share is the joy of dressing up and getting free candy on Halloween. Trick or treating is a part of so many lives, both young and old, but how old is too old? Many communities have put up an age limit for trick or treaters, with most limits ranging around 12 years old. The towns and cities that have put up an age limit for this annual event, have also put up penalties for those who choose to disobey the limit.

A young girl trick or treating

In Chesapeake, Virginia, people over the age of 13 can be fined for trick or treating or even face six months of jail time. Children age 12 or in the 7th grade could be charged with a misdemeanor. Other communities in North Carolina have established a curfew of 9 p.m. for trick or treaters, as well as an age cut-off.  In the southern region of  New Jersey, there’s a curfew of 7 p.m. and a cut off of 12 years or younger.

High school students dressed up for Halloween

There’s been mixed feelings about this issue, with some people being against it completely, others agreeing on the matter, and some people who are in between. One parent, Lisa Bradison expressed her feelings on these new laws. She felt that the age limit seems a little too young, but that it is a good idea. “I’ve had some teenagers break my decorations when my lights were off, and if we had these limits imposed, it might not have happened.” She goes on to explain how many teenagers could be rude and ruin the experience for small children by pushing their way through. When asked if taking trick or treating away from older kids will lead to more parties, she stated, “They’re going to do it whether they trick or treat or not, and parents should be more responsible with their kids.” Bradison proceeded to explain how mentally-challenged people should be an exception to the law. “My son is 12, but mentally, he’s much younger and he would be devastated to not be able to trick or treat.”

Twitter user expressing concern

These laws have started an outrage on Twitter. Many users are tweeting about how they will continue to allow any teenagers to trick or treat at their house. Additionally, people are tweeting about how it prevents unsafe parties as well.

Many people feel that teenagers have more opportunities to do pranks or go to parties with the new free time they’ve gained from not being able to trick or treat. Halloween parties are a big thing. Most of these parties involve under-age drinking and the possible use of illegal substances. Due to the underage drinking and illegal substances, if any injuries occur, teens don’t get the help they need for fear of getting in trouble themselves.

 They’ve also expressed how unfair the law is to those who have special needs. Despite being older, they get immensely excited about trick or treating but with these laws in place, their joy is taken away from them. Many are outraged by these laws and aren’t planning to follow them. Whether they’ll be enforced or not is yet to be seen and the question of what is the true spirit of Halloween still remains.