Halloween rules in some Illinois cities are no treat

by Dylan Sharkey, Illinois Policy

Photo: Jill Wellington/Pexels
Put on a costume, grab a bag and get free treats? It’s not so simple in Illinois, where cities’ Halloween rules restrict the simple fun.

There are tricks to getting treats on Halloween in Illinois – some are old rules in cities trying to stop some long-forgotten issue, and others are recent from communities that won’t trust residents to make good choices about COVID-19.

Oak Brook, Elmhurst, Western Springs and La Grange are among towns that set hours for trick-or-treating, starting at 2 or 3 p.m. and ending no later than 8 p.m.

Darien and Downers Grove don’t set hours, but recommend no trick-or-treating when it’s dark outside. (Trick-or-treating after dark? The horrors!)

The village of Hinsdale is offering residents premade yard signs: One welcoming trick-or-treaters, one telling costumed kids to get off their lawn and one asking that they wear a mask. Masks from a costume don’t count.

"If your costume has a mask, it must prevent the spread of aerosols from your mouth and nose to qualify. Social distancing of at least 6 feet is recommended whenever possible. Wait for trick-or-treaters ahead of you to leave the home before proceeding for your treat," Hinsdale city leaders advised aerosol-emitting youngsters.

Forsyth, just outside Decatur, imposes a $750 fine for approaching a house with no porch lights on for free candy.

Belleville has an age restriction: nobody older than 12 can trick-or-treat. If caught committing "Halloween Solicitation," they can face a fine of up to $1,000.

Kids should make sure they research their local ordinances before hitting the streets on Halloween. Just allowing parents to set the rules is too scary for some places.

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