Halloween rules on times, ages and dark houses await Illinois trick-or-treaters

Halloween rules on times, ages and dark houses await Illinois trick-or-treaters

Oak Park is creating specific trick-or-treating hours this Halloween. Other municipalities in Illinois have even scarier Halloween rules.

Some communities think those trick-or-treaters dressed as doctors, firefighters and police officers shouldn’t wait until they grow up and enter those professions to learn there are rules, and lots of them, in Illinois.

Halloween was recently regulated in the village of Oak Park.

The village board was originally going to pass an ordinance permanently setting Halloween hours from 3 to 7 p.m., but parents complained that few would be home from work to go with their youngsters. One even questioned whether village leaders were setting early hours to keep out youngsters from other communities.

“It’s targeting people from other communities of Austin and Maywood, neighboring communities that don’t have great trick-or-treating neighborhoods to go to,” resident Will Sims told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s going to target them and they’ll get citations. It will make them uncomfortable and make Oak Park a lot less friendly and welcoming to other races and cultures.”

Some village leaders even discussed not regulating Halloween at all, but in the end decided costumed youngsters would be allowed to collect candy from 4 to 8 p.m. on Halloween. One trustee said it was a matter of safety.

“People do drink on that evening,” trustee Jim Taglia told the Tribune. “They’re out driving. I don’t see well at night and I’m always afraid of kids popping out between the cars and there’s a lot of cars out on the street.”

Oak Park is certainly not the first place in Illinois to regulate Halloween. Belleville decided to ban kids older than middle school from trick-or-treating beginning in 2008. There is a fine up to $1,000 for those 13 or older who try for free candy.

Belleville even went farther: On any other day besides Halloween, anyone above the age of 12 will need to ask the police chief for permission to wear a mask.

Forsyth, near Decatur, imposes a fine of $750 for attempted trick-or-treating at a house that does not have its porch light on. Other towns setting hours and fines include: Chicago suburbs Orland Park (7 p.m., and a maximum $200 fine for a violation) and Palos Heights (7 p.m., $200 maximum); central Illinois’ Oakwood (8:30 p.m., $500 maximum); and southern Illinois’ Maryville (9 p.m., $750 maximum).

Halloween is not the only holiday regulated in Illinois. It’s illegal statewide to celebrate freedom at your own home with fireworks on Independence Day. Only three other states deny their residents the liberty to shoot fireworks.

Maybe it would be better to allow parents to decide when it is safe and how old their youngsters should be for trick-or-treating. Maybe a teen with an intellectual disability should not have government saying, “No candy for you. You’re too old. It’s too late.”

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