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Canadian town bans teens over 16 from trick-or-treating

On top of that, there's an 8 p.m. cutoff for all candy-seekers.
/ Source: TODAY

Some experiences, like riding a bike, running through sprinklers and making forts in the living room, just seem intrinsically linked to childhood. If you who count trick-or-treating on Halloween among those experiences, adulthood just came a little early for kids in one Canadian town.

City counselors in the province of New Brunswick will roll out a new law on Oct. 3 that bans teens over 16 years old from trick-or-treating and also enforces a Halloween curfew of 8 p.m.

Anyone over 16 caught knocking on doors looking for candy, or wearing a "facial disguise" after curfew, could be forced to shell out for a $200 fine, CBC reported.

The new rule is a revision of a law passed in 2005, which capped the trick-or-treating age at 14 and enforced a 7 p.m. curfew. The original law was passed in response to a spate of Halloween mischief, but was never enforced.

Kim Chamberlain, deputy mayor of the city of Bathurst, has opposed the law, saying the city overstepped its bounds by governing holiday traditions. The city is on Canada's east coast, near Nova Scotia.

"I wanted to demolish it altogether but I got outvoted," Chamberlain told CBC.

She worried the curfew may prevent children whose parents work late from trick-or-treating, or that kids could be questioned by authorities while out celebrating.

"Some kids are tall," she said. "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.”

City spokesperson Luc Foulem said the new law was made largely for the sake of older residents in the town, who are concerned about troublemakers on Halloween, CBC said. About 49 percent of Bathurst’s population is 55 years-old or older, according to the 2016 census.

The law’s goal is public safety, according to Foulem, who added that no one has been fined in the 12 years since the original law was passed.

Reactions to the news on social media have been mixed.

Some agreed the laws helped regulate trick or treating in favor of younger children.

"Older kids are bussed in from all over town taking treats you would otherwise give to younger kids," Edward Trouskie wrote on Twitter.

Some expressed concern that, without trick-or-treating, teens could get into worse trouble, while others argued celebrating the Halloween offered an opportunity for some wholesome fun.

"Society has always seemed to set the age quite nicely by shutting the door in your face calling you out on your age and not giving you candy," Barbara Falck wrote on Twitter.

The new rules are expected to pass a third reading by city council in early October, when they will become law.