Bathurst, N.B. Mulls Changing Trick-Or-Treating Curfew, Age Limit

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BATHURST, N.B. — Older teens hoping to take to the streets of a northern New Brunswick community on Halloween may find an unusual bylaw blocking their pursuit of sugary loot.

The City of Bathurst has a long-standing, but little-known rule on the books that forbids trick-or-treating or wearing a face covering after 7 p.m. It also prohibits anyone over 14 from going door-to-door.

The council is now taking a look at the 2005 bylaw after a couple of families requested that they ease the trick-or-treating curfew and extend the age to about 16.

trick or treatingDeputy mayor Lee Stever says most kids have ended their trick-or-treating by 7 p.m. (Photo: Getty Images)

Coun. Kim Chamberlain said Friday that she wasn't even aware of the bylaw until parents brought it to her attention a couple of weeks ago.

"A lot of working parents get home and make supper and before they start it's 6:30, so it doesn't really give them a lot of time so we just want to tweak it a little bit,'' she said from her office in the community of about 12,000 people.

"So we want to go to the public and know what do they think about it and will sit down and review it.''

Deputy mayor Lee Stever said the bylaw was enacted years ago following complaints from seniors who said older kids were coming to their doors late into the night. But, he says he doesn't believe anyone has been hit with the associated fine of up to $200 and that most kids have ended their trick-or-treating by 7 p.m.

trickortreatSome parents only want kids only 10 and younger to be allowed to trick-or-treat. (Photo: Getty Images)

The father of three older kids said it appears that council is divided on whether to change the bylaw, much like many people in the community. He said some are requesting that only kids 10 and younger be allowed to trick-or-treat.

"I've noticed that after 7 p.m., most kids are off the street so I think most people are aware of it,'' he said. "So, I'm not in favour of changing it.''

Stever said he has looked at other jurisdictions' bylaws, finding a patchwork of rules if any exist at all. He said that in Virginia for example, he found one bylaw that limited it to kids 12 and younger up until 8 p.m. Another one said that if a house is decorated and the lights are on, people can knock on the door.

Brendan Elliott, spokesman for the Halifax municipality, said it does not have a bylaw in place when it comes to Halloween activities.