When are Kids Too Old to Trick or Treat?


Happy Halloween!

Actually, it might only be happy for kids 12 years old and younger in some parts of the country. Several US cities have adopted age limits, usually around 12,  for trick-or-treating, but while a few teens could be punished with jail time or fines up to $100, these laws are extremely hard to enforce.

Mayor Mark Eckert of Belleville, Ill. led a push in 2008 to ban trick or treating by high school-aged teens in that community of about 35,000 people. He said he heard from too many single mothers and senior citizens complaining they were frightened by “6-foot-tall kids” showing up at their homes asking for candy.

While some people have complained about the ordinance, the mayor says he hears mostly from those who are thankful for it.

Several cities have had these types of laws for years, but officers cannot recall anyone ever getting in trouble for violating the ordinance. If anything, officers let teens off with a warning or a call to their parents.

“It’s not like we have officers that are patrolling the neighborhoods saying ‘How old are you?’ That’s not the point,” says Lou Thurston, spokesman for the Newport News Police Department in Virginia. “The point is making the place safe.”

Officials acknowledge that this law is difficult to enforce, but say that putting the word out there about it every year keeps many teens from violating the bans.

What do you think? When are kids too old to trick or treat?



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