Virginia City That Went Viral For Jailing Teens For Trick-Or-Treating Fixes Ordinance

The city of Chesapeake, Virginia went viral last year for an ordinance that banned anyone not 12 years of age or younger from trick-or-treating.

The city ordinance said violators could be punished with a fine or even jail time.

That is until the ordinance went viral online and was brought to the attention of city legislators. These lawmakers ultimately decided to change it just in time for Halloween traditions.

While the ordinance is still in effect, USA Today reports it now “enacts a maximum trick-or-treating age of 14 years old and does not allow for possible jail time.”


Teens in the city could still face a Class 4 misdemeanor and a fine under the law. But Covey assures the public that police have never actually fined or jailed a teen for trick-or-treating and the law is in place only to prevent issues like teens stealing and smashing pumpkins.

“The ordinance was, and is, intended to provide police with the authority to take action to keep order and protect public safety,” Covey said, noting that the law was originally made in 1970 in response to “incidents of mischief” on Halloween night.

“Chesapeake Police officers do not spend Halloween night checking the ages of those out enjoying trick-or-treating in a safe manner,” Covey added.

As Twitchy reports, the law has been changed to reflect a new series of guidelines:

From the City of Chesapeake:

  • If you are giving out treats, turn on your porch/exterior lights.

  • Remove any objects in your yard that might be a hazard.

  • Drive slowly during the evening and watch for children.

  • Make sure your child can navigate safely. Long costumes and masks can make navigating streets and yards difficult.

  • The hours for trick or treating are 6-8 p.m.

  • Trick or treating is open to children up to 14 years old.

Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.

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