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Do We Really Need a Halloween Age Limit?

The idea of a Halloween age limit might seem ridiculous — or even Unamerican — to some. But a few cities actually have them in place.

Last year, a Virginia town found it necessary to clarify its position on its Halloween age limit.

Chesapeake leaders upped the age limit from 12 to 14. If police find someone 15 or older in costume walking around with a sack of candy, they could face a $250 fine.

What’s the matter with Chesapeake!? Weren’t their lawmakers ever children?

Of course they were!

But they created a law decades ago for a purpose that may not have been so obvious. Heath Covey, a city spokesman, told Boston.com the original ordinance followed an incident in which mischief-makers threw exploding fireworks into Halloween bags. 

There’s always a troublemaker ready to ruin the fun. Of course, hoodlums come in all shapes, sizes and ages. I suppose they’ve found that it’s the over-14 crowd that is more likely to cause trouble.

But they aren’t the only one with an age limit for trick-or-treating!

Last year, Fortune reported that the Virginia communities of Norfolk, Portsmith, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach likewise imposed an age limit of 12 years old. It also mentions similar limits in New Jersey and Illinois.

Then, it mentions Charleston, South Carolina — my home base — where the age limit is 16. Who knew?

What all of the communities seem to have in common is not sending kids to the slammer if they trick-or-treat when they’re too old. There’s not much indication that cops ever cite kids or impose fines.

Overall, it seems to be a convenient way to punish kids breaking the law if something worse than that happens.

Maybe that part isn’t such a bad idea.

But really, how old is too old for trick-or-treating?

The Today show conducted an unscientific poll asking if there shold be a Halloween age limit and, if so, what age should be set.

About 76% said there should be no age limit.

For those who did, 17% chose 13-14 years of age, 21% chose 15-16 and 16% chose 17-18.

A whopping 42% chose “never.” Only 4% chose younger than 13.

Do you think there’s an age at which kids should no longer be allowed to trick or treat? If so, how old is too old?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.