New Brunswick

Bathurst bylaw: No trick-or-treating after 7 p.m., must be under 14

Bathurst Mayor Paolo Fongemie says he was surprised when a citizen brought bylaw no. 2005-17 to his attention: "Door to door soliciting (trick or treating) shall not take place after 19:00 hrs," it read.

Mayor 'surprised' to learn of bylaw, which was passed in 2005, but never enforced

The City of Bathurst is decorating its waterfront for Halloween, but some believe a 2005 bylaw still in effect is less than festive. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

Bathurst Mayor Paolo Fongemie says he was "surprised" when he learned that his city has a long-standing bylaw on the books that forbids any trick-or-treating after 7 p.m. and it prohibits older teens from dressing up for Halloween.

The northern city's bylaw was drafted in 2005, and in the 10 Halloweens, which have passed since, Fongemie said he believes there have been no fines handed out.

Councillors were divided over the bylaw, which dictates only children under 14 can trick-or-treat, and only until 7 p.m.

"I support the bylaw as it is right now. Halloween is for the kids. From what I'm hearing from citizens, they support my position, too," said Coun. Bernard Cormier.

A citizen brought bylaw no. 2005-17 to the mayor's attention and asked at a recent city council meeting to have the bylaw re-evaluated.

The reading on Monday evening was the first of three meetings that Bathurst council will have to pass for the bylaw to be amended in any way.

The bylaw sets out clear guidelines for any potential goblins looking for some Halloween loot.

"Door to door soliciting (trick or treating) shall not take place after 19:00 hrs. Facial disguises will not be permitted in public after 19:00 hrs," it reads

"No person(s) over the age of 14 yrs. shall take part in door to door soliciting (trick or treating) in the City of Bathurst."

Citizens divided

Dimitrios Karatzios believes the bylaw should ban children over 10 from participating in trick-or-treating. "They’re teenagers and they do a lot of harm," he said. (Bridget Yard/CBC)
Like Bathurst's elected officials, people on the street have mixed feelings about the bylaw. Most didn't even realize it existed.

"I think 7 o'clock is a reasonable time," said Natalie Duguay.

Dimitrios Karatzios said he believes it's too dark outside after 7 p.m. for children to trick-or treat and that council should take the bylaw even further.

"The age limit, I think it should go not more than 10 years old. The kids above 10 to 14, they're almost adults. They're teenagers and they do a lot of harm," he said

"Schools should have Halloween and celebrate that way. It's the best way to celebrate it," he added.

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