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Ask SAM: Can HOAs cancel trick or treating?

Ask SAM: Can HOAs cancel trick or treating?

Melissa Hall

Melissa Hall, Straight Answer Ma'am

Q: Can a HOA cancel trick or treat in a neighborhood?


Answer: Lawson Newton, an attorney specializing in real estate law had this explanation, “The answer to the reader’s inquiry is a resounding 'Yes, but…' Let me begin to explain by stating (1) nothing surprises this country lawyer anymore and (2) the Board of Directors of a Homeowners Association (HOA) must have either statutory basis or basis found in its Declaration to implement and enforce most, if not all, rules and regulations which the HOA promulgates. In general, North Carolina General Statute 47F-3-102 empowers the Board of the HOA to (a) impose rules and regulations and (b) regulate the use of common area. Similar enabling language is found in most Declarations which characteristically empower the Board to 'protect and provide for the general welfare of the community.' All that being said, a Board might well be able to justify the cancellation of 'Trick or Treat' activities and justify same as an effort to protect the general welfare of the community and its common area. However, I can only imagine the 'howling' that will inevitably erupt should a Board seek to totally cancel 'Trick or Treat' activities. Not to mention the likelihood that enforcement of such a regulation might lead to more negative results than one can imagine! Just try to take away those candy bags from those six-year-olds, right? Better judgment by the Board might be to impose reasonable rules (time frames, accompanying adults, asking owners to 'light up' the houses/lots for safety) as opposed to an across the board cancellation. This might be met by better understanding and acceptance by the association membership as opposed to the thought that its Board is the 'Halloween Police' and leaving the membership to wonder if the Easter Egg Hunt or Christmas Carol Singing is next on the docket to be canceled. Again, the answer is a clear and convincing yes….but.”

Q: Does the city have any plans to restart bulky item collection soon?


Answer: No. According to information from the city, officials announced in July that Bulky Item Pick-Up for 2020 had been canceled to make sure that other services could be handled. The city suspended brush collection in late March for two months and has been trying to get that caught up in time to begin leaf collection Monday (Nov. 2). In the interim, city residents can apply for a free landfill permit to take bulky items to the landfill. The permit will allow homeowners two trips to the landfill in a 12-month period. The permits are available to homeowners only, not renters and vehicle-size guidelines must be followed. The online application can be found at or by calling CityLink at 311. City officials will reevaluate bulky pick-up during leaf collection to see if bulky item pick-up can begin earlier in 2021.

Halloween blue moon

In addition to everything else in 2020, there are two full moons in October. The first one was Oct. 1 and the second one will be Saturday. The term blue moon has come to mean two full moons in the same month, though originally it meant two full moons in the same season. Now that is called a seasonal full moon.  

SAM’s 5 favorite questions of 2020


Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101



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