Courts & Crime

Going trick or treating this Halloween? Better bring a lawyer

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Trick or treating used to be easy -- you cut a couple of holes in a sheet, grabbed a pillowcase and started ringing doorbells.

These days, you better take along your lawyer. You'll need him to sort through the various regulations and rules concerning the odd American custom of going to strangers' doors to ask for candy.

Of course I exaggerate. It's really not that complicated. If you are in Belleville, you will need to be under the age of 13, only trick or treat from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday and don't participate in anything with kids if you are a child sex offender.

Other area towns also have curfews and Lebanon limits trick or treaters to those under age 14.

Belleville is a leader when it comes to a Halloween ordinance and Mayor Mark Eckert has become the poster boy for Halloween regulations. He has recently been quoted in several news stories and appeared on the "Today Show" on NBC Thursday morning, talking about Belleville's Halloween ordinance.

"We passed the ordinance two years ago and apparently in numerous cities across the country, they also are considering such a thing," he said.

The Belleville ordinance was in response to people's complaints about older, larger kids trick or treating later at night.

"It was getting a little scary for some people," Eckert said.

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