Free-Range Kids

13-Year-Olds Who Trick or Treat in Chesapeake, Virginia, Face Fines, Possible Jail Time

And anyone under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.


Trick or treat
Pressmaster /

In Virginia, the scariest thing about Halloween is how much legal trouble people can face for merely trying to enjoy the holiday.

The city of Chesapeake, for instance, prohibits anyone over the age of 12 from engaging in "the activity commonly known as 'trick or treat.'" Those who break the law are guilty of a misdemeanor, and could face a fine of $25 or up to six months in jail.

In Newport News, teens face restrictions, too:

(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.

Same rule in Norfolk. And in Suffolk: "It is against the law for anyone over the age of 12 to trick-or-treat."

Finally, if you are 10 or 11 and want to trick or treat in York County, go head. But not on your own! You "should be accompanied by an adult."

Read the rest of the crazy rules here.

These rules are turning a holiday that used to celebrate childhood independence—out they went, on their own, to get to know their neighbors, to get brave by facing the dark, to get goodies by being bold and ringing doorbells—into an orgy of adult supervision, regulation, and anxiety. The time frame gets shorter as the rules grow, all seemingly based on the idea that anyone above age 12 is a potential hooligan, anyone under age 12 is a potential victim, and any semblance of fun must be thrown out faster than a Kit Kat bar with a slightly torn wrapper.

Holiday hint for 13-year-olds in Chesapeake: Trick or treat in an orange jumpsuit costume. That way, later in the night you won't have to change clothes.

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  1. Hey, that woman in the photo looks pretty bewitching! If she goes trick or treating, bring her over to my house, so that I can SPANK her!!

    (Asking for a friend, actually).

    1. “…could face a fine of $25 or up to six months in jail.”

      Whereas I would let her off with a mere spanking! See how merciful I am? I shall hence be known as SQRLSY The Merciful!

      1. Stop sexually harassing Lenore! You’ll turn her over to the other side again.

        1. If she goes to the H and Run comment section, she’s basically harassing herself.

          1. I say some variant of that almost every day.

        2. Well OK then, in my defense, that was the wine talking, not me. It’s late in the day, I’ve been hitting the bottle.

          My wine also says “Stop that! I hate your insensitivity, in the way you trample on my grapes! And don’t even THINK about doing that in your stinky bare feet!”

  2. In Virginia, the scariest thing about Halloween is how close it is getting to January 1, when annually a whole bunch of asinine laws passed in previous years are sure to take effect. And even closer to November, when a new batch of state, Federal, and local officials are chosen and sure to be progressively worse each time around in terms of butting into your private life including telling you how to raise your kids.

    But at least you’ll be there to help sound the alarm on it Lenore. Keep on keeping on!

    1. Yes, the main Senate candidates in Virginia are Ms. Nosenheimer and Mr. Buttinski, this fall. Would you rather drink the Kool Aide with rat poison, or fall into the Giant Septic Tank of Government Almighty Slime Molds? Chose wisely now!

    2. Let’s look at this on a wider scale.

      First, the government butted in and all but took every last right a parent has to EFFECTIVELY discipline their chid(ren). In many states, simply spanking a child’s backside when they’re being an insufferable little brat or doing something dangerous that could seriously hurt themselves or others. The schools make sure to thoroughly indoctrinate your children to report you to school officials if you lay a hand on them to punish them. However, in public schools, disobedient kids have been body slammed violently by school resource officers, tazed by school resource officers, and handcuffed and carted off to jail by school resource officers as young as 5 years old. Yes, S.R.O.s have handcuffed crying 5 year olds. I guess the state assumes they’re more effective at abusing your kids than you allegedly are just because you set rules and expect them to be obeyed and you put teeth into your rules by tanning their hide as often as needed.

      In some places, schools can counsel your child on birth control and provide said birth control and not have to get one word of consent from the parents.

      In other states, girls can go out and get pregnant and go for an abortion without the parents’ knowledge or consent.

      Now add that one jurisdiction is passing an ordinance to dictate at what age a child must stop trick-or-treating. I don’t see how this law would survive a challenge in court.

  3. i guess 12 was about the last time i t-o-t … nobody had to make it illegal wtf – we just stopped b/c stupid

    1. Wait, are you just suggesting that the government just does, you know, nothing?

  4. So, does accompanying your kids on trick-or-treating count as a form of trick-or-treating? And if you *don’t* accompany your kids on this dangerous activity, aren’t you guilty of child endangerment?

    Better just stay at home and bob for apples…assuming the Health Department give the needed permits of course.

    Or you can go to a scary haunted house…and sue them if they inflict emotional distress on you with their ghosts and goblins.

    You know, I’m not sure if the Christian fundamentalists put that many restrictions of Halloween as these secular-minded legislators are doing. I mean, sure, the fundamentalists wouldn’t allow *their own* families to dress up as devils and do trick-or-treating, but did they pass laws against the infidel families doing so?

    1. just no dressing up as the slutty pumpkin

      1. excuse me, but your chad is hanging out

      2. excuse me, but your chad is hanging out

  5. So I guess we’ll have to put the kibosh on my “put the trick in trick or treat” adults-only party?

    /joke /joke /joke

  6. Those 13 year olds can just swim to Hampton or Newport News if they want to o trick or treating

    1. Woops!

      Newport News is out. Carrolton and Smithfield are options.

  7. ?into an orgy

    12 year old me would have been into that.

    1. “An orgy of supervision, regulation, and anxiety” is one of the most creative turns of phrase I have seen in prose.

      1. Worst orgy ever.

        1. I dunno, it could be worse… Imagine if Hillary Clinton, Maxine Waters, and Pocahontas were the participants!

    2. Ask Tinkerbell from the original “Peter Pan” to tell you the details.

  8. In Virginia, the scariest thing about Halloween is how much legal trouble people can face for merely trying to enjoy the holiday.

    Another one in the column of “mundane stuff you used to do which can now get you thrown into jail.”

    1. Nice try, but this is not some Johnny-come-lately law. It’s been on the books since 1970, according to the Chesapeake City Code.

      That’s just three years after Virginia was forced to stop arresting interracial married couples.

      1. It’s probably some kind of holdover like the law still on the books in neighboring North Carolina forbidding anyone age 16 and older from participating in meetings in which face-concealing hoods or masks are worn. Technically, that could make a lot of Halloween parties for older teenagers and adults illegal. In practice, of course, a lot of those “illegal” parties are held in public buildings such as schools and community centers.

        The reason people regularly get away with violating this law? Very few police are even aware this law exists, and of the rare few who are, none of them bother enforcing it. The law was written, you see, in a well-intended effort to suppress the Ku Klux Klan. Since people rarely hear from the KKK anymore even in the remotest and most culturally isolated parts of the state, that law has outlived its usefulness, though it still technically remains in force.

  9. (a) If any person beyond the seventh grade of school or over twelve (12) years of age

    Damn, the OR statement screwed me. Had it just been the seventh grade, I could have trick or treated in Virginia until I was 17.

    1. You didn’t read the complete story. There is a further provision enabling parents to trick-or-treat with their children. So both you and junior could have gone out together after the last bell, along with any of the other seventh-graders if you all wished.

      1. Parents… But not their older siblings? Or maybe an aunt or uncle? I’m not going to bother to read it, but the very concept of arbitrarily having to decree who is or is not allowed to trick or treat with a certain child is insane.

  10. Don’t wanna be a thug, don’t Halloween like a thug.

  11. At least it is only a misdemeanor. Most of the year it is a felony for anyone over 16 to wear a mask in public.

    1. Any exemptions to the mask thing for makeup?

      1. anything more than the “Tammy Fay” limit is punishable by a fine and/or jail time

    2. Batman and Robin hardest hit.

  12. That can’t possibly be constitutional.

    1. whats tha constitution thing?

  13. Trick or A2M!

  14. Kool. Next let’s make it illegal to believe in Santa Claus if you are over age 10. Unless, of course, it is an act of voting for one of the major party candidates.

  15. Another reason that Virginia has been swallowed by Lefty politicians and their supporters.

    1. The final nail in Virginia’s coffin was when Terry McCauliffe gave the vote to felons.

    2. It is truly terrifying watching one formerly good state, or at least decent and moderate state, fall into total insanity. I grew up in California, and when I was a kid it was pretty borked… But when my dad grew up there, it was pretty much sane and middle of the road. We moved to Washington when I was still in HS. It was also sane and moderate. It is now going hard left. VIRGINIA! Da fuk.

      Texas will be left in less than 10 years if trends don’t shift dramatically too. It is entirely possible for the Dems to just collapse in on themselves with how crazy they’re being… But it is possible they might not if they course correct a bit. That thought is terrifying.

      1. Nope, Reps are having way more kids.

        1. You would be correct, if the world were completely different from what it is. Conservatives DO have more children… But they’re getting overwhelmed by immigrants, both legal and illegal.

          Immigrants ALL vote left. Every single group. Cubans are literally the only immigrant group I have ever seen mentioned that does not vote left… Although I would imagine there may be a few smaller communities, say former USSR territories, that also vote right. No big ones though.

          Problem is, even without any new immigrants, if the voting proportions of R/D stay about the same within ethnic groups, we as a nation are simply losing the only demographic that votes conservative/libertarian… White people. With zero new immigration whites will still become a minority in a couple decades.

          So unless some major ethnic block flips to the right, which I don’t see happening anytime soon, then leftists WILL take over the country. Especially if we keep allowing fresh leftists voters to pour into the country.

          It’s all fine and well to live in la la land and expect that things will somehow workout, but all the demographic trends say it ain’t gonna happen.

  16. At the risk of getting in trouble, the pols who passed this law need woodchippers. And the idiots who aske them to pass this law need to be take out back and shot.

    You can have your war on Christmas, you can diss Hanukkah and Valentines Day, but nobody should mess with Halloween. Nobody! I hope they get so haunted that it drives them insane.

    1. Run for office! I will vote for woodchippers and taking people out back to be shot! So will lots of other people… These people are just too much to bear.

  17. Lenore, good on you! This is gov run amok. Thanks for keeping us informed.I heard Pinker talking about you last weekend. Must be hard to have to do this. Like me, he seems to appreciate you, I can relate.

  18. So do 13YO kids have cards?

    1. Nah, just if you are over two years of age you must now have a certified copy of your birth certificate on your person if you are in any public space until you are 16 or get a drivers license. The local Gestapo, oops, I mean Police will be checking your papers. 6 months in jail if caught without identification.

  19. Sadly this is another example of how pathetic older people can be when they try to limit the amount of enjoyment kids have, children already grow up to fast and to limit the harmless activity is stupid. I’ve seen kids upwards of 18 come to my home and I always give out candy and tease them that they’re to old for this, but its always in good fun. Over the years I’ve seen young girls wearing princess costumes grow into the sexy outfits young teen girls always like to wear or get away with.

    I find it hard to believe these city leaders have so much time to waste to come up with rules to govern something like Halloween activities.

  20. So, will all treat-or-treaters of any age have to get a state-issued ID so all the cops who will be out there on Halloween can verify their ages?

  21. “Finally, if you are 10 or 11 and want to trick or treat in York County, go head. But not on your own! You “should be accompanied by an adult.””

    But if you ARE accompanied by an adult, that adult is involved in trick-or-treating, and is therefore a criminal.

    It’s not like cops have anything ELSE to do around Halloween.

  22. Trick-or-treating is straight-up extortion, which is a crime.

    You can get around THAT, of course, by going from house to house and politely asking for candy. Then sue the police for a 14th-amendment violation if they stop you without reasonable suspicion that you’re doing something illegal.

    1. ?the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever

      They’ll be the judge of that, thank you very much.

  23. Just glad, that when I was young, my cousins and siblings went to the “rich” neighborhoods, over a mile from home, across the railroad tracks!! We made a killing. But, I can’t remember trick or treating when I was 12, or older. I worked and bought my own candy!…(;-P

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  25. This is what happens when you fail to use woodchippers for their proper political purpose.

  26. Seriously!?!? More big government. I’d rather the 13+ year olds be out trick or treating than out creating havoc!

  27. Ugh. Can we just start lining progs up and shooting them yet? I’m getting really tired of this kind of crap… 😉

    1. Patience! The leftards are already breathing out death threats on Twitter and planning murderous home invasions and other treasonous criminal activities at their hate sites. Civil War II is approaching fast, and when it arrives, it’ll be open season on the left; there won’t be a single one of them innocent of capital treason, and we’ll therefore have legal leeway to shoot them on sight.

      1. Fingers crossed! 🙂

  28. Oh, so NOW they’re laying down the law about asking for free stuff?

  29. If you’re over 12, you can’t trick-or-treat, and if you’re under 12, you can’t trick-or-treat alone. Does that mean that if you are exactly 12, you can trick-or-treat alone, that one time only?

  30. When I saw the title I imagined some Virginia kids had finally lucked into the LSD-spiked candy my nephews and nieces fantasize about. When I first tried Halloween, my impression was that this was a day when Americans temporarily legalized armed robbery. Why else would my parents dress me like Roy Rogers and teach me to say “trigger treat” while pointing what–to Cleveland cops–was a loaded revolver?

  31. Up next: Prison terms for people eating beef during Lent.

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