Hampton Roads, VA – Several Virginia cities have made going trick-or-treating a tricky process after they instituted numerous laws that could result in misdemeanors if costumed, candy-seeking kids ignore them.
In Chesapeake, children 14 years of age and younger may trick-or-treat from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31, WAVY reported.
Chesapeake actually has one of the least restrictive policies since they removed the never-before-used penalty of jail time and raised the age limit to 14 in 2019.
All of the other cities in the region have a maximum 12-year-old limit on going door-to-door asking for candy.
In the City of Hampton, it’s a Class 4 misdemeanor for anyone over the age of 12 to engage in trick-or-treating, WAVY reported.
And the children may go house-to-house from sunset until 8 p.m.
Trick-or-treaters seeking candy after 8 p.m., however, will be subject to a Class 4 misdemeanor, according to WAVY.
Newport News says it is a misdemeanor for anyone “beyond the seventh grade of school or over 12 years of age” to trick-or-treat, and also threatens a Class 4 misdemeanor for offenders.
It has also attached a criminal penalty to costumed miscreants who ring the doorbell and ask for candy after the witching hour of 8 p.m., WAVY reported.
All of the jurisdictions have exceptions for teenagers and adults who are accompanying small children going door-to-door, but Newport News has specifically banned those people from wearing masks.
In Suffolk, they actually renamed Halloween “Meet & Treat Day,” according WAVY.
Despite the name, the rules are much the same, limiting treat seekers to children 12 and under, and capping door-to-door candy collection at 8 p.m.
Violations of the rules can lead to a Class 4 misdemeanor in Suffolk, too, WAVY reported.
Portsmouth mixes it up by extending trick-or-treat hours from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
And in Portsmouth, it’s a Class 3 misdemeanor if a person is caught asking for candy after 8 p.m. or if they’re older than 12, WAVY reported.
Williamsburg and James City don’t attach any criminal penalties but have expressed their preferences for witching-night behavior.
Both cities would prefer that trick-or-treaters and their chaperones refrain from using cell phones while walking their route.
They also prefer children’s costumes to consist of face paint rather than vision-constricting masks, and suggest that costumes be covered in reflective tape, according to WAVY.