Most people safely enjoy the spooky fun of Halloween, however, not everyone celebrates appropriately.
What is considered harmless pranks -- like toilet papering trees, soaping windows, throwing corn at houses and various other non-damaging acts of mischief -- traditionally occur during Halloween.
Officials urge parents to openly discuss various types of appropriate and inappropriate behavior at Halloween time.
"Sometimes well-intended pranks miss their mark and not everyone realizes there are consequences for such acts if they become criminal in nature," Clay Superior Court Judge J. Blaine Akers, who suggests everyone be careful this Halloween, recently told The Brazil Times. "I don't want to see anyone mess up their life or their employment, but sometimes innocent people get physically injured or property is damaged."
While some children might need to be reminded about the general trick-or-treat rules -- which is usually one piece of candy per house and remembering to say "thank you," others may need to be reminded their mischievous behavior has potential consequences.
Whether the person doing the mischief thinks their actions are harmless or not, there could be legal ramifications.
"If someone is caught participating in an act that is potentially illegal, destructive or the victim wants to press charges, that individual could have some legal problems," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times.
According to Heaton, good-natured pranks can lead to police involvement.
Not only could a prankster potentially earn a ride in a patrol car to the Clay County Justice Center, their actions could make a serious dent in their and/or that of their parent's wallets.
A new littering ordinance enacted in August by the Clay County Commissioners, could alleviate toilet paper dangling from trees throughout the county.
According to the ordinance, fines are set at $500 for the first offense and $750 for the second and all subsequent offenses should the matter be settled "without the necessity of court action."
If the issue cannot be resolved outside of court, a conviction would carry maximum fines of $2,500 for the first offense and $7,500 for the second or subsequent offense.
Although it seems humorous, a person caught taking pumpkins, yard decorations and/or other items from someone's property could be charged with theft.
"It's property theft," Heaton said. "And that's illegal."
When property is damaged, then the amount of trouble pranksters could find themselves in has the potential to be greater. Depending upon the age of a person and what they are alleged to have done, the charges filed and court costs will vary.
According to Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger, acts of criminal mischief can be a felony if enough property damage is done.
"Also, a charge of residential entry is a possibility if young people go into properties that they "think" are abandoned," Reberger said.
He believes people should take the approach that what seems fun at the moment may have unintended consequences.
"We also have to remember that it may be funny to you, but the intended victim may not think it is so funny," Reberger said. "If the person has been victimized or targeted before, any future encounters are even more upsetting."
Another issue officials have concern about during Halloween is bullying.
Brazil Police Chief Dave Archer told The Brazil Times there have been several incidents reported in the past where older juveniles have knocked down younger children who were trick-or-treating alone and took their candy bags.
"Trick-or-treaters should travel in groups with adult or responsible supervision," Archer said. "Our department will have officers out on patrol to keep watch, but parents should keep their children in sight at all times to ensure their safety."
Archer suggested chaperones should carry a cell phone with them to report any emergency that should occur, considering most cell phone services provide free 911 calls.
Saturday is the only official night for little ghosts and goblins to be out in Brazil, however, Archer said families can choose to visit homes of friends and family members.
"As for the city's trick-or-treat hours, they were established so people know when trick-or-treaters will be around and homeowners can be prepared," Archer said. "A lot of people leave their porch lights on for safety -- so they can monitor what's happening on their property or so visitor's can get safely to their front doors -- not just for trick-or-treaters. Trick-or-treaters should only visit homes with porch lights on."