Don’t get spooked by teen trick-or-treaters

By Bianca Bujan

(bowdenimages/Getty Images)

(bowdenimages/Getty Images)

There’s nothing more annoying than opening your door at 10 p.m. on Halloween night to find a group of shifty teens on your doorstep, dressed in street clothes and coaxing for candy. But while the late-night, lackadaisical loot-luring is less than appealing, it certainly isn’t worth implementing a preventative law as a result.

The city councillors of Bathurst, a small town in New Brunswick, would beg to differ.

Since 2005, Bathurst has had a bylaw in place banning the act of trick-or-treating after a certain age, and past a specified curfew.

Until recently, the bylaw read, "Door to door soliciting (trick or treating) shall not take place after 19:00 hrs. Facial disguises will not be permitted in public after 19:00 hrs, and no person(s) over the age of 14 yrs. shall take part in door to door soliciting (trick or treating) in the City of Bathurst." Failure to comply would result in a $200 fine.

Citizens of the small town were divided over the validity of the bylaw, some for, and others against the frightful restrictions surrounding All Hallows’ Eve.

In an interview with CBC last year, one citizen not only backed the bylaw, but thought it should be even more restrictive, stating, "The age limit, I think it should go not more than 10 years old. The kids above 10 to 14, they're almost adults. They're teenagers and they do a lot of harm."

After pushback for an appeal from opposing residents, the bylaw has been recently modified, adjusting the age limit to 16, and extending the curfew to 8 p.m. - a change that is expected to pass in early October of this year.

Is it fair to set restrictions based solely on age? I think not. Not only do I disagree with penalizing a child for wanting to enjoy a little trick-or-treating on Halloween, solely based on when they were born, but setting such an early curfew would make it nearly impossible for working parents to get home, feed and dress up their little ones, and have them out trick-or-treating before the deadline draws near.

Having teenagers in the trick-or-treating circuit is not going to create a zombie apocalypse - we shouldn’t label and punish everyone in a certain age group for a few assumed wrongdoings.

Some kids just like dressing up and lollygagging for loot. Tweens - those children who fall between the ages of 10 and 14, are targeted as being too old for trick-or-treating, but they also aren’t old enough to host house parties for Halloween, so what are they to do?

If you feel uncomfortable with the boos and ghouls who come knocking at your door, turn off your lights and lock your doors.

I’m happy to give out candy to anyone who comes to my door dressed in a costume and asks respectfully for a “trick or treat” - regardless of age.

What’s next, a ban on Halloween altogether? Now that would be spooky.

Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @bitsofbee. Comments: