Saturday, September 30, 2023

Before heading out to collect candy this Halloween, make sure you know these rules

As Halloween approaches, children of all ages are preparing their masks and capes to go trick-or-treating.

But before heading out the door to collect candy, there are rules and regulations you need to be familiar with.

In the state of Virginia, children ages 15 and younger can wear costumes with masks but state code prohibits anyone older than 16 wearing items that conceal their identity, said Maj. Greg Riley, Williamsburg Police spokesman.

When out scouting for candy, police want to make sure children and their chaperones are safe and have a few tips to do so:

  • Go trick-or-treating with an adult.
  • Wear costumes that allow for adequate vision and hearing.
  • Costumes should fit well to prevent tripping or falling.
  • Wear flame-retardant costumes.
  • Walk facing traffic and pay attention for cars.
  • Only cross on street corners, never in the middle of the block.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing, such as glow-in-the-dark patches, so vehicles have greater visibility.
  • Bring a flashlight.
  • Only approach houses that have porch lights turned on.
  • Only eat candy after it has been inspected by an adult.
  • Don’t eat candy that has already been opened.

In Williamsburg, York County and James City County, trick-or-treating hours are between 6-8 p.m. on Halloween for children 12 and younger.

“We will address any complaints we receive regarding trick-or-treaters who may be ‘too old’ but we do not actively monitor the ages of children participating in Halloween activities,” Riley said.

Riley said the exception: If police see anyone who appears older than 16 is wearing a mask.

In York County, officers will not be directly asking children their ages or writing tickets to anyone who stays out past 8 p.m., said Shelly Ward, spokeswoman for the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office.

In James City County, officers will not enforce violations to times and ages unless there are other factors involved, said Stephanie Williams, JCC Police spokeswoman.

Ward said for the most part, these are suggested regulations to ensure safety. While officers won’t be heavily enforcing the rules, they will be patrolling neighborhoods.

“We want the children to stay safe and have a great time,” Ward said.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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