5 burning Halloween controversies

From religious dilemmas to witchy marketing flaps, here are some of this spooky season's most contentious issues

Some cities are adopting a 12-and-under age limit on trick-or-treaters this year.
(Image credit: Corbis)

Halloween: It's a time of celebration, but also of egging, pranks, witchcraft, and general debauchery. Below, five controversies — some new, some just persistent — that are complicating the holiday this year:

1. A ban on teenagers

Alarmed by the increase in older "kids" going door to door, reports ABC News, "some cities across the country have adopted age limits — usually around 12 — for those who can travel door-to-door for candy and other Halloween fare." Not everyone is a fan of such tight restrictions: Sandy Maple at Babble says, "I think a teen — especially a 13-year-old — is still a kid and should be able to put on a costume and act like one."

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2. No more witchy beer

Nothing says Halloween like seasonal beer, but, as a local California brewery discovered, you need to careful how you say it. The label for the pale ale Lost Abbey Witch's Wit, featuring "an image of a woman being burned at the stake," provoked Wiccan leader Vicki Noble to launch an angry internet protest. The beermaker apologized and will remove the offending image.

3. Which day is Halloween again?

Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, and some towns around the country, conscious of conflicts with religious beliefs, are considering making Saturday the official trick-or-treat date. One parent in Panama City, Fla., which has opted for Saturday, tells a local news channel reporter that the switch is just creating confusion: "We don't know if we should have candy for both nights just in case some kids parents didn’t hear about it or to just pick one and hope people have candy."

4. How to "protect" sex offenders

Around the country, local police are struggling to find effective ways to stop sex offenders from interacting with trick-or-treaters. In Los Angeles, police suggest offenders "protect" themselves from "unnecessary allegations of impropriety" by leaving their porch lights off and posting signs declaring that they are not giving out candy. In Georgia, sex offenders are barred from opening their doors except to "a law enforcement officer or an emergency responder."

5. Eggings: Still a problem

In New York, the age-old Halloween prank has sparked a troubling amount of violence, reports The New York Times. Since 1984, the newspaper found, "at least 24 people have been seriously wounded or killed in stabbings, shootings, beatings or accidents sparked by egg-throwing confrontations around Halloween." In Queens, eggings "are so out of control" that "cops in some precincts ask merchants not to sell eggs or shaving cream to minors during Halloween week."

Sources: ABC News, Babble, Washington City Paper, Panhandle Parade, The New York Times, Fox 8, LA Times, Gothamist

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