Trick-or-treating is enjoyable for the whole family—but could it land you in jail? We're breaking down the trick-or-treating laws for all of Hampton Roads and Williamsburg. 

Trick-or-treating is serious business. A lot of thought goes into the costume, the candy receptacle, and ultimately, the route around the best neighborhoods. In some Hampton Roads cities, however, it is considered illegal for anyone over the age of 12 to trick-or-treat. If a teenager is caught (and if the laws are to be believed), it could lead to a class 3-4 misdemeanor, landing your teen in jail for up to six months and a fine up to $500.

But is it really that bad if a teenager comes knocking at your door asking for candy? The short answer is no. As long as kiddos behave on Halloween, the laws won't actually be enforced

Each city in Hampton Roads and Williamsburg has a separate set of guidelines to follow, but the police have stated that they will not drag teens away in handcuffs unless they start destroying people's property. 

It should be noted that any trick-or-treating laws regarding people over the age of 12 do not apply to parents or guardians. It is (of course) encouraged for a parent or trusted adult to accompany a group of kids when trick-or-treating.

And, per the age-old rule, if you wish to hand out candy, turn your porch light on. Otherwise, leave it off.

Here are the rules, guidelines, and times for each city:

Virginia Beach

  • Time: Dusk to 8 p.m. 
  • Age Limit: 12 and under 
  • Prohibited Activites (will result in a Class 4 Misdemeanor):
    • Participating in trick-or-treating or any other related activity over the age of 12
    • Trick-or-treating past 8 p.m. 

Norfolk 

  • Time: Dusk to 8 p.m. 
  • Age Limit: 12 and under 
  • Prohibited Activites (will result in a Class 4 Misdemeanor):
    • Participating in trick-or-treating or any other related activity over the age of 12
    • Trick-or-treating past 8 p.m. 

Chesapeake

This is the least restrictive city, per this year's change in ordinance. They will not charge those over the age of 14 as long as they are trick-or-treating safely. 

  • Time: 6 to 8 p.m. 
  • Age Limit: 14 and under 
  • Prohibited Activites: 
    • Destruction of property
    • Trick-or-Treating past 8 p.m. 

Suffolk

  • Time: Dusk to 8 p.m. 
  • Age Limit: 12 and under 
  • The day will be designated as a Meet 'n' Treat day
  • Prohibited Activites (will result in a Class 4 Misdemeanor)
    • Participating in trick-or-treating or any other related activity over the age of 12
    • Trick-or-Treating past 8 p.m. 

York County 

All kids participating in trick-or-treating must be accompanied by an adult. 

  • Time: 5:30 to 8 p.m. 
  • Age Limit: 12 and under 

Portsmouth

  • Time: 5 to 8 p.m. 
  • Age Limit: 12 and under 
  • Prohibited Activites (will result in a Class 3 Misdemeanor):
    • Participating in trick-or-treating or any other related activity over the age of 12
    • Trick-or-treating past 8 p.m. 
    • It is illegal for kids to be out past 8 p.m. except for normal business or if with an adult.

Newport News

  • Time: Dusk to 8 p.m. 
  • Age Limit: 12 and under 
  • Prohibited Activites (will result in a Class 3 Misdemeanor):
    • Participating in trick-or-treating or any other related activity over the age of 12
    • Trick-or-treating past 8 p.m. 
    • Parent or guardian wearing a mask of any type

Hampton

  • Time: Sunset to 8 p.m. 
  • Age Limit: 12 and under 
  • Prohibited Activites (will result in a Class 4 Misdemeanor):
    • Participating in trick-or-treating or any other related activity over the age of 12
    • Trick-or-treating past 8 p.m. 

Williamsburg and James City County 

  • Time: 6 to 8 p.m. 
  • Age Limit: 12 and under 
  • If possible, decorate your costume with reflective tape or decorations.
  • Wear light clothing and face paint instead of masks.
  • Kids are encouraged to walk through the streets safely without any distractions and not dart across the street.
  • Drive safely through the streets.

See the detailed list of regulations here! Before you head out, check out these safety tips!

Did you know the regulations for your area? Did you expect any of these laws? Will you be trick-or-treating this year? Which city do you live in? Tell us in the comments!