In case you haven’t noticed the mountains of candy taking up aisle space in the grocery store, let me be the first to inform you that Halloween season has arrived! I thought it would be fun to take a quick break and check out some of the interesting laws surrounding this spooktacular time of year.
Leave Your Clergy Costume at Home
Take a look at Alabama State Code Section 13A-14-4:
Whoever, being in a public place, fraudulently pretends by garb or outward array to be a minister of any religion, or nun, priest, rabbi or other member of the clergy, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500.00 or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
It sounds to me like that priest or nun costume you were planning to wear to this year’s annual costume party could have you spending Halloween in jail.
Clowns Are Scary
If you recall, last year’s Halloween controversy revolved around clown sightings. Where individuals dressed as clowns would position themselves in wooded areas or other dark places to scare people. Sometimes, they would even run after them, terrorizing entire cities and prompting some pretty serious warnings from law enforcement. In Connecticut, state police announced that the wearing of clown costumes for the purpose intimidation would result in criminal penalties. Other states and localities used “no mask in public” ordinances to outlaw certain clown costumes. So, if you are planning to spend Halloween as Pennywise the Clown from the movie It, you may want to check your local laws first.
No Silly String Allowed
City officials in Hollywood got so tired of cleaning up silly string after Halloween that they passed an ordinance to ban the celebratory strands between 12am on October 31st and noon on Nov. 1st. Violation carries a potential fine of $1,000 fine, and applies even if you are only caught with a can of silly string in your possession. I can’t help but wonder what happens at 12:01pm on November 1st.
Sundays Are Off Limits
For some localities, a Sunday Halloween just doesn’t sit well. While not officially on the books, several local leaders issued recommendations and resolutions calling for an alternate trick-or-treating night when Halloween falls on a Sunday.
I know! I know! It’s hard to imagine how a child can grow into a productive adult without the experience of overindulging on candy every October. But, believe it or not, the majority of countries across the globe do not celebrate Halloween at all. While some of them have never recognized Halloween, leaders in countries like Jordan have chosen to outright ban the holiday in an attempt to promote their traditional values.
Now that we have taken a look across the country and around the world, let me give you my three golden Halloween rules. Have fun, be safe, and stay out of your kids’candy bags… because that is where the real evil lies. Happy Halloween!
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, The Legal Writing Studio, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.