Halloween Activities Most Likely to Get Your Chicago Teen Arrested
Halloween has never been a time to be on your best behavior. Running around the neighborhood at night, pulling pranks, and dressing up in scary costumes are all part of the Halloween tradition. As with any sort of mischief, though, teens can quickly take the spirit of the holiday too far.
Because of this, it’s not uncommon for misguided Halloween pranks and actual state crimes to overlap – probably more than you or your teen even realize. To avoid surprise charges, police departments have started warning citizens on social media that a prank can cross the line.
These are the most common “pranks” that land Chicago teens in jail. Talk to your teens this year about when a prank goes too far – it could save you the embarrassment of picking them up from the police station when you’re supposed to be handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.
Whether you call it “Mischief Night,” “Devil’s Night,” or don’t even have a name for this day, the night before Halloween can quickly spiral out of control. The night became infamous throughout the country after an 8-year old boy was killed in Chicago back in the 1930s. To this day, children still use the opportunity to go out and cause trouble around the city.
However, not everyone appreciates the pranks played on the night before Halloween. People with egged houses, smashed pumpkins, or graffitied walls can call the police. Mischief Night participants may land in jail for vandalism or criminal damage to property. Acting in the spirit of the holiday is not a defense that will hold up in court.
Stalking and Harassment
It’s pretty spooky to see someone in a clown mask or ghost costume outside your window. This kind of prank is all fun and games between friends, but don’t let your kids stand outside of the neighbor’s window and give them a scare.
Victims of this “prank” may decide to call the police. If they do, your teen could be charged with harassment – or even battery. These are often considered “violent crimes” and put a serious stain on an otherwise squeaky clean criminal record.
Falsely Reporting A Crime
Calling the police when they don’t need to be called can also be a crime. Bringing the police to a friend’s house or calling in a bag of sugar as drugs is not funny to the boys in blue. Falsely reporting a crime is considered “disorderly conduct” in the state of Illinois.
Maybe your teen is a little too old for TP-ing a neighbor’s house or trick-or-treating. Even so, you still have to talk to them about Halloween behavior. Heading to a Halloween party with alcohol or drugs may land them in jail for the night. Police don’t need to see them actively partaking in underage drinking for them to face consequences.
Another thing you should know – parents who allow teens to drink in their house may also face consequences. Fines start at $500 for adults who let minors drink alcohol on their property. Even if you take your kid’s keys, don’t let them drink in your house this Halloween.
Finally, any amount of alcohol in your teen driver’s blood will result in penalties. The first time your teen is caught drinking and driving, they face a three-month license suspension. The second time is a one-year suspension. If you think your teen might be drinking on Halloween, take their keys.
All of these crimes could show up on your teen’s criminal record and affect their ability to get into college, get a job, and lead a productive life as an adult. Talk to them this Halloween about the severity of criminal charges and what Halloween celebrations may just be going “too far.”
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.