It's a question parents grapple with every Halloween: how old is too old for a kid to go trick-or-treating? Do you let your teenagers participate in a ritual that's traditionally reserved for younger children? Or if you're staying at home giving out candy, do you feel a little resentment at giving out treats to a kid who is obviously in the throes of adolescence?
In the New Brunswick, Canada town of Bathurst, the problem has already been solved as a matter of law: the town of about 18,000 people legally forbids children 15 and over from trick-or-treating. Specifically, the law, enacted in 2005, not only forbids teenagers from trick-or-treating, but it also forbids anyone from being out in public with makeup or a mask after 7:00 p.m. on October 31. Violators can be fined anywhere from $80 CDN to $200 CDN.
And one Bathurst dad wants that changed, according to The Star.
Calvin Sisk thinks it's unfair that the town won't let the oldest of his two teenage daughters - one 13, the other 16 - trick-or-treat with the little tykes on Halloween.
"There are some kids that are old, but they're really young at heart. That's what my daughter is. She's 16 years old and she can't go out with her sister anymore trick-or-treating. She missed Halloween last year because of the [law]."Kaylee and her boyfriend purchased matching Coca-Cola bottle costumes for their school's Halloween dance, but Kaylee wanted to take things a step further and go throughout the neighborhood, showing off her costume and, of course, getting bags of candies and other treats.
"She saved her money for that costume. It isn't fair because we live on the busiest street for Halloween, we have tons people, all this excitement and we can't take part."At this point it bears noting that Kaylee herself didn't speak on the record about her own desire to go trick-or-treating, so we'll have to take her dad's word for it.
Sisk has taken up his complaint about the law with the town's authorities, although whether or not he'll get any satisfaction by Halloween - which is a week from Monday - remains to be seen.
Bathurst Mayor Paolo Fongemie, contacted by Sisk via email, said he wasn't even aware that his town had such a law.
"I was kind of surprised that we had such a bylaw. Personally, I guess my kids were illegal for the last three, four years when they were trick-or-treating with their friends. We were surprised a bit about giving fines to kids... I can assure you that I think our police officers have other things to do than to police that matter on Halloween night."
Other authorities in Bathurst seem inclined to keep the law in place. Deputy mayor Lee Stever, who's heard from constituents on both sides of the issue, is leaning towards voting to keep the law in place.
"I don't know if it's necessary to change anything at this point. One thing I understand from previous councils was the fact that people were complaining of trick-or-treaters showing up at their door late and adults showing up. So I think for the senior citizens and single people, it caused a bit of a problem. They were nervous about opening their doors."Calvin Sisk has a message for anyone who is upset about teenagers showing up at their door on Halloween night: "Give them a bag of chips and wish them Happy Halloween and they'll be on their way."
Do you think teenagers should be forbidden, by law, from wearing costumes and going trick-or-treating on Halloween?
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