Updated: Monday, 31 Oct 2011, 7:13 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 31 Oct 2011, 4:20 PM EDT
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Halloween is a time for sweets and treats.
"We bought a right bunch of candy this year hoping it'll be a good turnout," says Louis Worley of Portsmouth.
Worley anticipates teens being part of that turnout.
"We get maybe one to five kids each Halloween that you can pretty much tell that they're over age and we usually tell them, 'Look, you're too old for this,' but we end up giving them candy."
What Worley didn't know, however, is that according to an ordinance (similar in every Hampton Roads city), those teens broke the law.
"It should be okay," says Christopher Newman of Portsmouth.
Christopher Newman is stunned after hearing about the ordinance that in most cities states:
(a) If any person over the age of twelve (12) years shall engage in the activity commonly known as "trick or treat" or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever, he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Nothing herein shall be construed as prohibiting any parent, guardian or other responsible person, having lawfully in his custody a child twelve (12) years old or younger, from accompanying such child who is playing "trick or treat" for the purpose of caring for, looking after or protecting such child.
(b) If any person shall engage in the activity commonly known as "trick or treat" or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever after 8:00 p.m., he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor
"That's pretty harsh for anybody older than 12-years-old to get in trouble. Especially a misdemeanor," says Newman.
"If somebody's arrested for it and charged with it, they could receive a fine up to $250," says Norfolk police officer Chris Amos.
It's a fine the teens have to pay while getting a blemish on their record until they're 18.
"We've never used it in our city. It's never been enforced, but it's there," says Amos.
Amos says he's not sure how the ordinance originated, but it's meant to prevent possible mischief.
"While it may seem silly to a lot of folks, I'm sure there are a lot of 10- and 11-year-olds and their parents that are glad it's there."
However, Amos says don't think police plan to target teens Halloween night.
"Quite frankly we're pretty busy in this city making sure our trick or treaters are safe as opposed to ID'ing our trick or treaters."
Many of the police officers WAVY.com spoke with say it's important to keep in mind, just because the ordinance hasn't been enforced, doesn't mean they won't enforce the ordinance.
So, what can teens do on Halloween? Check your local mall, churches, or your community bulletin for possible events .
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