Childrearing

Town Passes Actual Law To Keep Teenagers From Trick-Or-Treating

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If you were a lawmaker in a paradise town where nothing bad ever happened, you could entertain yourself by banning petty things that you, personally, did not like. Iceland’s president joked that if he were a dictator with nothing better to do, he’d ban pineapple pizza. Personally, I would make it illegal to put too much orange juice in a mimosa. Now one town in Canada is apparently living that dream, because they’ve actually passed a law–an honest-to-god law–banning teenagers from trick-or-treating on Halloween.

According to CBC News, the city of Bathurst, near Nova Scotia, has officially made it illegal for kids over the age of 16 to go trick-or-treating.  It also established an 8 p.m. curfew on Halloween night.

As of October 3, anyone caught wearing a mask, veil, or “facial disguise” after 8 p.m. on Halloween can be fined $200. Anyone over the age of 16 caught trick-or-treating is also subject to a $200 fine.

I realize that teenagers trick-or-treating is a divisive issue. Some people hate seeing teenagers go door-to-door for candy. But can’t those people, you know, say no? Rather than fining kids or their parents $200, the people giving out candy could just say, “I’m sorry, I’m saving what’s left for the little kids.”

The Halloween law used to be even more strict

This law is actually relaxing a 12-year-old law, which banned anyone over the age of 14 from trick-or-treating, and which set the curfew at 7 p.m.

Bathurst deputy mayor Kim Chamberlain said she doesn’t like the law at all and wanted to get rid of it altogether. She describes the law as government overreach, and says people who don’t want trick-or-treaters past a certain time can just turn off their porch lights.

“It’s silly,” Chamberlain said of the 8 p.m. curfew. “If I have a trick-or-treater knock on my door at 8:30 p.m. I’m not going to say no.”

While Chamberlain wanted to get rid of the law entirely, she’s glad it’s been relaxed a bit. She said the 7 p.m. curfew was tough on working parents. If you get home at 6 p.m., how do you get the kids fed and dressed in costumes in time to trick-or-treat, if everyone turns into a pumpkin at 7?

Teeangers = mischief, apparently

Bathurst reportedly has a pretty old population. More than half the residents are over the age of 55. Apparently, a bunch of old people were worried about teenagers doing “mischief” on Halloween. But as Chamberlain points out, there are already laws against vandalism, harassment, stealing smaller kids’ candy, etc. Trick-or-treating itself is not “mischief.”

As I’ve said before: I hope I get teenagers trick-or-treating at my house. If you show up at my door, I will give you candy. I don’t care how old you are, or if you came in from a different neighborhood. I’ll have plenty of candy. (I’m going to Costco.) I will give you candy. That’s what Halloween is about. If you show up and say “Trick or Treat!”

What do you think of teenagers trick-or-treating? Let us know in the comments.

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(Image: iStockPhoto / ElenaVasilchenko)

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