A ploy for candy on Halloween might cost your kid their clean criminal record in one bummer of a city.
Kids older than 12 years old caught trick-or-treating in Chesapeake, Va. could be slapped with a misdemeanor as a way to curb “mischief” on the spooky holiday.
And as harsh as the punishment may seem, the city just voted to reduce the penalty — prior to them loosening the rules this year, costumed kids older than 14 caught begging for candy could have faced a possible fine or even a prison sentence.
The ban on big kids has been a long and contentious battle for the city. Last year, reports of the strict law caused a big media stir, which prompted local officials to revisit the rule some called outdated.
“The idea that we would put teenagers that age in jail was just a horrible thought, obviously, and it angered a lot of people,” Mayor Rick West told 13NewsNow, a local ABC affiliate.
West called the reaction unfair, in reference to a 2018 spoof sketch by late night host Jimmy Kimmel, who pretended to interview a fictional Chesapeake police sergeant, played by “Modern Family” actor Fred Willard.
“It was embarrassing and something that we certainly weren’t doing and it seemed somewhat unfair,” said West, insisting that no minors were ever actually jailed over the offense.
In its new form, anyone over the age of 12 caught trick-or-treating alone or without an adult supervisor after 8 p.m. could be charged up to $250 and slapped with a Class 4 misdemeanor, according to 13NewsNow.
“Realistically the only purpose of this ordinance is to give our police force the ability, if someone is creating mischief on Halloween, to do something about it,” says Chesapeake spokesperson Heath Covey.
The updated law joins other towns in the Hamptons Roads region of Virginia, such as Newport News and Virginia Beach, which also prohibit trick-or-treaters over 12 after curfew.
Other US cities have had similar laws in their books since the ’70s, according to the Associated Press, from Meridian, Miss., to Bishopville, SC, and Boonsboro, Md.
There comes a time in every parent’s life when they have to decide for their child “How old is too old?” A currently live “Today” show poll of more than 2,000 responses so far has revealed that 41 percent of people say you’re never too old. The second highest response came from 22 percent who said 15 to 16 was the appropriate age to stop.
Meanwhile, just 1 percent of Halloween haters said children as young as 9 should quit trick-or-treating.