In the run-up to October 31st, one town in Canada has taken measures to minimise anti-social behaviour this Halloween by banning teenagers from trick-or-treating.
Halloween is widely celebrated as a big holiday in the country, so the rules in Bathurst, New Brunswick, have upset a lot of people.
This year sees a revision of legislation introduced in 2005, where the Town Hall released a statement detailing that ‘No person(s) over the age of 14 yrs. shall take part in door-to-door soliciting (trick-or-treating),’ and that ‘door-to-door soliciting’ and ‘facial disguises’ were also banned after 7pm.
The marginally more relaxed measures brought in for 2017 increase the age limit to 16 and extend the curfew to 8pm. Teens found to break the bylaw will face a fine of $200.
The rules were initially introduced to appease residents of the town – of which 49% is over the age of 55 – concerned about bad behaviour on the streets late at night.
But some have argued that the measures are ‘over the top’, with the Deputy Mayor Kim Chamberlain fighting a long-running battle to have the laws lifted.
‘It’s silly,’ she said. ‘If I have a trick-or-treater knock on my door at 8:30 p.m. I’m not going to say no.’
And of the age restrictions, she was also baffled.
‘Some kids are tall,’ she told American news network CBC. ‘My cousin’s son is 5″4′ and 15 years old. What are we going to do, go up to him and ask him “How old are you” and “Show me your ID?” That doesn’t make sense.’
She continued: ‘I think we can achieve the same goal in order to have public safety and still have kids have fun. I think it’s more of a type of a guideline, a community thing, and I think it allows an opportunity for the community to say “look this is how we want to celebrate Halloween”.’
Last year the town made headlines after one resident wrote a letter to the mayor complaining about the pre-revised legislation.
‘There are some kids that are old, but they’re really young at heart,’ he told the Toronto Star at the time. ‘That’s what my daughter is. She’s 16 years old and she can’t go out with her sister any more trick-or-treating. She missed Halloween last year because of the bylaw.’