Civil-rights advocates are stepping up to protect Louisiana residents' constitutional trick-or-treating rights.
Many Louisiana communities have recommended hours during the evening for trick-or-treating, and the American Civil Liberties Union says some areas will even impose penalties on trick-or-treating outside the official window. In an open letter addressed to every sheriff in Louisiana, the organization said that placing restrictions on trick-or-treating times is illegal because it violates free-speech laws.
"No governmental body may prohibit anyone from ringing someone else's doorbell at any time for any legitimate purpose, nor may the government prohibit anyone from giving 'treats' to visitors at any time," the letter reads. "Simply put, the residents of Louisiana have the constitutional right to ring doorbells on any date and time they choose asking for treats, and all have the right to receive visitors and give them treats at any time."
The ACLU says that penalizing trick-or-treating is a violation of Americans' freedom to assemble, and even specifying trick-or-treating hours "creates a chilling effect on the right of free assembly."
In the letter, the ACLU also goes after local police who are placing signs outside of sex offenders' homes to warn kids to stay away. These signs carry messages like, "No candy at this residence," or "No trick, no treat, no candy."