And anyone under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
In Virginia, the scariest thing about Halloween is how much legal trouble people can face for merely trying to enjoy the holiday.
The city of Chesapeake, for instance, prohibits anyone over the age of 12 from engaging in "the activity commonly known as 'trick or treat.'" Those who break the law are guilty of a misdemeanor, and could face a fine of $25 or up to six months in jail.
In Newport News, teens face restrictions, too:
(a) If any person beyond the seventh grade of school or over twelve (12) years of age shall engage in the activity commonly known as "trick or treat" or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever, such person shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
Same rule in Norfolk. And in Suffolk: "It is against the law for anyone over the age of 12 to trick-or-treat."
Finally, if you are 10 or 11 and want to trick or treat in York County, go head. But not on your own! You "should be accompanied by an adult."
These rules are turning a holiday that used to celebrate childhood independenceout they went, on their own, to get to know their neighbors, to get brave by facing the dark, to get goodies by being bold and ringing doorbellsinto an orgy of adult supervision, regulation, and anxiety. The time frame gets shorter as the rules grow, all seemingly based on the idea that anyone above age 12 is a potential hooligan, anyone under age 12 is a potential victim, and any semblance of fun must be thrown out faster than a Kit Kat bar with a slightly torn wrapper.
Holiday hint for 13-year-olds in Chesapeake: Trick or treat in an orange jumpsuit costume. That way, later in the night you won't have to change clothes.