OAKLAND, TN— You can’t wear a mask on Halloween if you are older than 10 and live in Oakland, Tennessee. City leaders say it's a move that deters crime. It's been in the books since 2005 but many parents tell ABC24 News they are just learning about the law.
Oakland Police say banning older kids and adults from wearing masks that completely cover their faces will keep their community safe. They have had trouble in years past and don't want any funny business this Halloween.
"We've had issues with surrounding counties in the past with burglaries and robberies with older teenagers and adults wearing masks so the board of aldermen has adopted an ordinance back in 2005 that states anybody older than 10 cannot wear masks,” said Oakland Police Sergeant Jimmy Maxwell.
You won't get arrested but you could get fined.
"We would give them a warning because it's a city ordinance,” said Sgt. Maxwell. “It would be a civil manner and the maximum could be if a judge imposed a fine.”
There's also an earlier curfew on Halloween, 9pm. Extra officers patrolled neighborhoods too. Residents are divided about the stiff restrictions on Halloween.
"It'll keep people from trying to rob people so I think it would be safer,” said an Oakland resident and mother Nikki Lussier.
"I’m kind of mixed about it honestly. I've always enjoyed Halloween. I feel everyone should have the right to dress up,” said another resident Kevin Dunn.
"There are some people trying to take advantage of people that are home alone,” said Donna Mills who agrees with the mask ordinance.
Parents say Halloween is for kids anyway. The Stemmler family says they feel more comfortable opening their door if they can see people's faces. That's why they dressed their 2 girls as Princess Jasmine and Ariel the Mermaid.
“I'd rather not see the mask at the door I’d rather their faces,” said Angela Stemmler.
"Once you get a certain age when you start wearing a mask it kind of scares folks when you come to the door because you never know who's at the door,” said Angela’s husband Bill Stemmler.
Gallaway, Sommerville, Rossville, and Moscow all in Fayette County Tennessee also ban masks for older children but in Shelby County there is no such ban.