News & Politics

In VA Town, Jail Time for Anyone Over 13 Who Trick-or-Treats

There is no holiday we celebrate that brings out the worst in adults more than Halloween. On the left, political correctness runs rampant as only “approved” costumes are considered appropriate. Woe betide the luckless kid who dresses in some costume considered “offensive” to one aggrieved group or another.

On the right, devout Christians criticize the pagan origins of Halloween and the celebration of what they see as satanic rituals.

Schools have ended Halloween because it isn’t “inclusive.” Diet Nazis complain about all that candy. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned scary fun?

In Chesapeake, Virginia, city fathers have decided to criminalize trick-or-treating. If you’re over 13 years old and are caught going door to door asking for treats, you will be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail.


In Chesapeake, anyone 13 and older who commits the grave, felonious offense of overage trick-or-treating could face up to six months in jail, HRScene reports. If they try, they’re liable to get slapped with a misdemeanor. Chesapeake’s city code—section 46-8, “trick-or-treat activities”—makes putting on a costume and stuffing a bunch of candy in a pillowcase basically sound like a cardinal sin:

“If any person over the age of 12 years shall engage in the activity commonly known as ‘trick or treat’ or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $25.00 nor more than $100.00 or by confinement in jail for not more than six months or both.”

Chesapeake isn’t the only town that criminalizes celebrating Halloween over a certain age.

 Eight other Virginia towns have made it illegal to trick-or-treat if you’re over 12, along with a handful of cities across the county. To be fair, it sounds like the cops in most of these places aren’t going to be prowling for kids who look like they’ve already graduated middle school and checking their IDs, HRScene reports. They’re more concerned about teens egging houses and smashing pumpkins or whatever—though they should know the art of the Halloween prank has evolved far beyond that by now.

Sure, some of the older kids misbehave and cause mischief. But that’s what we have police for. The small percentage of troublemakers shouldn’t ruin it for the majority who peacefully celebrate the holiday.

Moreover, what this represents is a troubling trend at all levels of government: the need to regiment our daily lives in painfully minute detail. The political correctness is inescapable, and can be laughed off.  But when government intrudes so completely and threatens to use its power in such ways as to punish peaceful celebrants of a traditional holiday, we lose the essence of what Jefferson wrote as “the pursuit of happiness.”

We cannot be happy with government breathing down our necks and looking over our shoulders. That’s not how America was designed to work, and government was never supposed to exercise that kind of control.