Halloween is a whimsical and imaginative holiday. Tiny ghost and ghouls walk the streets, requesting candy at every house, and carved pumpkins sit next to many front doors. It’s a holiday that really embraces creativity and fun, but it also has a serious side.
There are actually a number of laws surrounding Halloween in different areas of the United States, and in this post we’ll explore some of the most intriguing ones and the reasons behind them.
1) Walnut Creek, California: It is illegal to wear a mask on Halloween without a permit.
This law was created to cut down on robberies and other illegal incidents during the holiday. Requiring a permit encourages people who are legitimately dressing up on Halloween to do so legally, while anyone who does not have a permit may be targeted as someone hoping to cause trouble.
2) Bellville, Missouri: If you are over the age of someone in the eighth grade (about 13 years old), you are not allowed to ask for candy in public.
This law was put in place by Bellville’s mayor, who believes that Halloween should be restricted to young children. Although many seem to follow the rule regardless, it still takes a little fun out of the season for those who are young at heart and who want to participate in the night’s candy collecting.
3) Rehoboth, Delaware: Anytime that Halloween falls on a Sunday, it must instead, take place on the preceding Saturday, October 30th.
The law was created to ensure that Halloween never takes place on a Sunday. Rehoboth also has a law that specifies that parents or guardians will not let their child (or any other children under their care) peruse the streets with the intent to cause trouble.
They also only allow trick-or-treating for anyone over 14 from 6pm-8pm on Halloween.
By creating these laws, the city hopes to reduce any of the tricks associated with Halloween, since if you’re found breaking any of the laws you may be fined up to $150.00.
4) Dublin, Georgia: It is unlawful for any person over 16 to go out in public on Halloween wearing a mask, sunglasses, hood, or any other type of accessory that covers the face.
This law is similar to others in that it was put in place to reduce the amount of mischief that happens on All Hallows’ Eve. While its intent is just, it might make it less fun for parents who want to dress up as they escort their children to different houses.
Although, if they are just handing out candy at home, there’s no issue.
5) Alabama: If you want to dress up as a priest, nun, or rabbi on Halloween, you better think twice: it’s illegal.
Breaking this law could get you arrested and fined, which may mean up to a year in jail along with up to a $500.00 fine. Reasons for this law are unclear, but one can assume it stems from wanting to avoid the disrespect of having religious representatives haunting the streets on Halloween night causing mischief.
6) Hollywood, California: Silly string is not permitted on Halloween night.
The reason being that its usage was a bit out of control at one time and cleaning it up after the fact became a big ordeal.
7) Merryville, Missouri: Women are not permitted to wear corsets.
This law is not related to Halloween, but it’s a good thing to remember when planning out your costume.
8) Alabama: It is prohibited to wear a mustache that may cause people to laugh in church.
This law is intended for fake facial hair and is currently not enforced, but its origins are unknown. If you do happen to be attending church on Halloween in a mustachioed costume, make sure you won’t get in trouble for it, especially if it’s amusing.
Because Halloween has a spooky side, it’s one of the only holidays that garners so much legal attention. Many of these laws were put into place in order to protect the general public and the festivity of the holiday. Be respectful, be careful, and enjoy the parts of the holiday that you like best.
Wherever you are, and whatever the laws may be, have a safe, happy, and spooky Halloween!