Find out more about the Trick-or-Treating Laws and Halloween laws or face jail-time or fines this Halloween.

Willing to Face Jail-time and Fines for Trick-or-Treating this Halloween?

While Halloween has traditionally been a young child’s holiday, in recent years, more and more adults have been engaging in the festivities.

Halloween parties, adult costume sales, haunted mazes, scary amusement park transformations, and Halloween movie marathons have been increasing in revenue in the past decade.

Never Too Old to for Halloween? Not According to the Law! Avoid Jail-time or Fines This Halloween

However, before you put on that adult version of the Orange Is the New Black costume, and head to Stan Lee’s ComiKaze Comic-Con, you may want to read this article.

Jail-time or fines this Halloween? Find out the details of your city's Halloween laws, and avoid getting busted.
Don’t end up in jail! Find out the details of your city’s Halloween laws, and avoid getting busted.

Apparently, cities all over the United States have had enough with older children and young adults going door to door for free candy.

The legal system has stepped in and took official measures to make a law that makes it illegal for kids over 12 to go trick-or-treating.

One city has even gotten rid of trick-or-treating, entirely!

Read below to find out the updated laws in each of these strict regions.

Halloween Laws that Can Land You with Jail-time or Fines

Chesapeake, Virginia Started Making Laws that Could Land You Jail-time or Fines on Halloween

jail-time or fines for Halloween

Chesapeake, Virginia updated their law from last year which stated 12-year-olds could face jail time, fines, or both for Trick-or-Treating. Now the legal limit is 14, and the teenager will merely get a fine. It is okay, however, to accompany a child younger than 14 while they are trick-or-treating. You must also stop by 8 p.m., regardless of your age.

Sec. 46-8. – Trick or treat activities.

(a)
If any person over the age of 14 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 Class 4 misdemeanor. Nothing herein shall be construed as prohibiting any parent, guardian, or other responsible person, having lawfully in his or her custody a child 14 years old or younger, from accompanying said child.

(b)
If any person shall engage in the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever after 8:00 p.m., he or she shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
(Code 1970, § 17-13.1; Ord. of 10-26-70; Ord. No. 19-O-038, 3-12-19)

https://library.municode.com/va/chesapeake/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH46OFMIPR_ARTIINGE_S46-8TRTRAC

Hampton, Virginia

jail-time or fines for Halloween
Sorry Friends, you are too old to trick-or-treat.

In Hampton, Virginia, anyone over 12 is still subject to a fine for Trick-or-Treating above the age limit. You must also stop by 8 p.m..

Sec. 24-5. – Prohibited trick or treat activities.

(a)
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 shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor; provided, that nothing herein shall be construed as prohibiting any parent, guardian or other responsible person, having lawfully in his custody a child 12 years or younger, from accompanying such child who is playing “trick or treat” for the purpose of caring for, looking after or protecting such child.

(b)
If any person shall engage in the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever after 8:00 p.m., he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
(Ord. No. 601, 12-13-78; Code 1964, §§ 27.1-46, 27.1-47; Ord. No. 1466, 3-28-07; Ord. No. 16-0016 , 10-26-16)
Cross reference— Penalty for Class 4 misdemeanor, § 1-11.

https://library.municode.com/va/hampton/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CO_CH24OFIS_ARTIINGE_S24-5PRTRTRAC

James City, Virginia

While James City, Virginia does not make as official a stance on their Trick-or-Treat laws, here is what can be found on their Facebook Page.

Trick-or-treat hours in James City County are from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31 for children 12 and under.

JCC Police Facebook

Newport News, Virginia

jail-time or fines for Halloween
We don’t recommend this method of getting free candy, either.

Free Candy? Nope. In Newport News, Virginia, anyone over 12 is still subject to a fine for Trick-or-Treating above the age limit. You must also stop by 8 p.m., unless you want to pay $250 for that “free candy.”

Sec. 28-5. – Prohibited trick or treat activities.
(a)
If any person beyond the seventh grade of school or over twelve (12) years of age shall engage in the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever, such person shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Nothing herein shall be construed as prohibiting any parent, guardian or other responsible person having lawfully in his custody a child twelve (12) years old or younger, from accompanying such child who is playing “trick or treat” for the purpose of caring for, looking after or protecting such child. However, no accompanying parent or guardian shall wear a mask of any type.

(b)If any person shall engage in playing “trick or treat” or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever after 8:00 p.m., such person shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
(Ord. No. 1558, § 1; Code 1961, § 25-56; Ord. No. 3663-87)

https://library.municode.com/va/newport_news/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CD_ORD_CH28OFIS_S28-5PRTRTRAC

Norfolk, Virginia

In Norfolk, Virginia, anyone over 12 is still subject to a fine for Trick-or-Treating above the age limit. You must also stop by 8 p.m..

Ordinance
Sec. 29-4. Prohibited “trick or treat” activities. 

(a) If any person over the age of twelve (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 shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Nothing herein shall be construed as prohibiting any parent, guardian or other responsible person, having lawfully in his custody a child twelve (12) years old or younger, from accompanying such child who is playing “trick or treat” for the purpose of caring for, looking after or protecting such child. 

(b) If any person shall engage in the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever after 8:00 p.m., he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor

City of Norfolk

In Portsmouth, Virginia, Celebrating Halloween Could Lead to a $500 Fine

In Portsmouth, Virginia, if you are trick-or-treating over the age of 12, you may be fined up to $500. You must also stop by 8 p.m., or face the same penalty.

Sec. 24-4. – “Trick or treat” activities.

(a)
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 shall be guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor; provided, however, that nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting any parent, guardian or other responsible person, having lawfully in his custody a child 12 years old or younger, from accompanying such child who is playing “trick or treat” for the purpose of caring for, looking after or protecting such child.


(b)
If any person shall engage in the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any name whatsoever after 8:00 p.m., he shall be guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.
(Code 1973, § 21-178; Code 1988, § 24-9)
Cross reference— Penalty for class 3 misdemeanor, § 1-11.

https://library.municode.com/va/portsmouth/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICO_CH24OFMIPR_ARTIINGE_S24-4TRTRAC

Trick-or-Treat Doesn’t Exist in Suffolk, Virginia

jail-time or fines for Halloween

In Suffolk, where tricking is discouraged, trick-or-treat is officially called “Meet ‘N Treat.”

It is unlawful for anyone over 12 to participate in treats, and all treating must stop by 8 p.m., or face a fine.

Sec. 54-157. – Halloween designated; age limit for participation; hours of participation; penalty.

(a)
Halloween shall be designated as Meet ‘N Treat Day within the city.

(b)
It shall be unlawful for any person over 12 years of age to participate in the “treating” custom associated with Halloween of going from door-to-door displaying costumes and requesting treats. This shall in no way be construed as to mean any parent or guardian accompanying any child for the protection and safety of the child while making “treating” rounds.

(c)
The “treating” custom of going from door-to-door displaying costumes and requesting treats shall be ended no later than 8:00 p.m.
(d)
Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a class 4 misdemeanor and punished as provided in section 1-14.
(Code 1976, § 18-6.1)

https://library.municode.com/va/suffolk/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICO_CH54MIOF_ARTVOFINMI_S54-157HADEAGLIPAHOPAPE

Virginia Beach, Virginia

In Virginia Beach, Virginia, anyone over 12 is still subject to a fine for Trick-or-Treating above the age limit. You must also stop by 8 p.m..

Sec. 23-3. – Prohibited trick or treat activities.

(a)
If any person over the age of twelve (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 shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Nothing herein shall be construed as prohibiting any parent, guardian or other responsible person, having lawfully in his custody a child twelve (12) years old or younger, from accompanying such child who is playing “trick or treat” for the purpose of caring for, looking after or protecting such child.


(b)
If any person shall engage in the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever after 8:00 p.m., he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
(Code 1965, §§ 23-54.1, 23-54.2; Ord. No. 1660, 10-27-86)

https://library.municode.com/va/virginia_beach/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CO_CH23OF_ARTIMIOF_S23-3PRTRTRAC

Masks and Disguises in Walnut, California

This is a cute Winnie the Pooh Face Mask, in case you wanted to know.  No masks allowed.
This is a cute Winnie the Pooh Face Mask, in case you wanted to know. Yes, very cute.

These laws don’t only affect people in Virginia or people during Halloween. In Walnut, California, it is generally against the law to wear a mask or disguise, so if you are planning to cosplay, avoid this city.

3.48.200 Wearing mask or disguise.
No person shall wear a mask or disguise on a public street without a permit from the sheriff.

Silly String Can Lead to Fines in Hollywood, California

No silly string this Halloween or face a fine.
No silly string this Halloween or face a fine.

In Hollywood, while you are looking at the 50 signs posted on the street to see if you are allowed to park in a certain spot during a certain hour and day, you may encounter possibly one of the most specific Halloween laws.

In Hollywood, it is illegal to buy, sell, use, or possess silly string, punishable by fine.

SEC. 56.02.  SILLY STRING – HOLLYWOOD DIVISION DURING HALLOWEEN.

   (b)   No Person, as defined in Municipal Code Section 11.01(a), shall possess, use, sell or distribute Silly String at, within or upon any public or private property that is either within public view or accessible to the public, including, but not limited to, public or private streets, sidewalks, parking lots, commercial or residential buildings, places of business, or parks within the Hollywood Division during Halloween.

 
   (c)   Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor subject to the provisions of Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 11.00(m).

In Alabama Dressing Like a Pope Can Lead to Jail-time and a Fine this Halloween

No popes allowed.  Break this rule, and you may get both jail-time and fines.
No popes allowed. Break this rule, and you may get both jail-time and fines.

Put that sexy nun costume away. In Alabama, make sure you are not dressed in any garb that is related to religion unless you are actually a nun, priest, rabbi, etc… or you will face both jail time and a fine.

ALABAMA
TITLE 13A. CRIMINAL CODE
§ 13A-14-4
Alabama Code Title 13A. Criminal Code § 13A-14-4

Whoever, being in a public place, fraudulently pretends by garb or outward array to be a minister of any religion, or nun, priest, rabbi or other member of the clergy, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500.00 or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Why Did This Trend of Jail-Time and Fines for Halloween Trick-or-Treating Begin?

While many cities may have had discussions about how there are more and more older trick-or-treaters and Halloween lovers, it was Chesapeake that took the lead in creating an anti-Halloween law with the intent of keep their citizens safe.

The funny thing is that while Chesapeake realized the severity of its law, and scaled back on the age requirement and punishment for trick-or-treating above the age limit, the cities that adopted similar laws based on Chesapeake’s laws have not scaled back.

This shows how the government needs to be cautious when implementing new laws. While the intent may address a need, the detailing influence may be difficult to reverse.

To find out more about how Halloween is changing, check out this article on the Petition to Move Halloween.

cover image by ISTOCKPHOTO