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Many Halloween “pranks” are actually crimes

Many kids who have outgrown trick or treating still go out Halloween night with their friends. Even basically good kids, when they're in groups, can do things that can get them in trouble. While they (and you) may see things like throwing toilet paper or eggs around houses or smashing pumpkins as harmless pranks, the owners of the property and the police may see them very differently.

In fact, some of these "pranks" are crimes. They could land your child -- and you -- in juvenile court.

In addition to talking to your kids about not damaging someone else's property, remind them that grabbing candy from younger kids is stealing. Taking something directly from someone else (like sneaking up behind a child and pilfering a handful of candy bars from their bag) is more serious than taking a bag that's been left unattended.

While your child likely isn't going to end up in juvenile detention for any of these behaviors if no one was harmed, they might have to serve probation. They (actually, the parents) may be required to pay restitution to the victims of their vandalism. That means covering the cost of cleaning and repairs, if necessary. If you don't know how much it costs to have a Porsche detailed, you'll be in for an unpleasant surprise when you get the bill after your child saturates your neighbor's car with eggs.

Kids might think they can get away with TPing a lawn if the owners aren't home or taking the pumpkins off their porch. Remind them that many homeowners have surveillance systems now. It's hard to dispute video evidence with the time and date on it.

If your child finds themselves under arrest on Halloween, don't underestimate the impact it could have on their lives, even though they're still a minor. They could face consequences at school, in their sports or other extracurricular activities or as they look for a part-time job. A North Carolina juvenile defense attorney can work to mitigate those consequences.

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