Halloween is a holiday that features the weird and wacky. But all the Halloween "Trick or Treat" pranks cannot equal the bizarre actions of our elected legislators. Here is a sampling of the Ten Most Absurd Laws by some of our elected representatives. In true David Letterman style, I will go from the mildly ridiculous to the most outrageous.
#10. Women in Merryville, Missouri, are prohibited from wearing corsets under their costumes. What is the definition of corset or what are the alternatives are not identified by the male aldermen of Merryville.
#9. Trick or treating on Halloween is forbidden in Reboboth Beach, Delaware, when Holloween falls on a Sunday. The ghosts and goblins must do it on the preceding Saturday or face criminal penalties.
#8. The U.S. State Department issued an advisory in 2014 to American citizens abroad to citizens "traveling from their home to a Halloween party or vice versa to cover up their costumes while in public or in a car."
#7. In Dublin, Georgia, a city ordinance makes it illegal for any person over 16 years of age to appear in public wearing a mask, sunglasses, hood or any "regalia in such manner as to conceal his or her identity". Bye bye, Blues Brothers.
#6. The city council of Hollywood, California, enacted a law to "possess, use, sell or distribute Silly String" in public from 12:01 am on October 31 to noon on November 1st. Another American tradition is lost.
#5. The town of Vendargues, France, outlaws clown costumes for Halloween and the entire month of November. So long, Bozo.
#4. The City of Newport News, Virginia, prohibits any parent or guardian who is accompanying his or her children to "wear a mask of any type".
#3. Alabama law forbids Halloween revelers from dressing up as a "minister of any religion, or nun, priest, rabbi or any other member of the clergy". Trick or treaters who have not been formally ordained may face a fine of $500 and a sentence of a year in the county jail. Better get rid of your "singing nun" outfit.
#2. City ordinance in Belleville, Missouri, prohibits any teen ager over 12 from "trick or treating". The mayor helpfully explained, "We believe that Halloween is for little children."
(His Honor is apparently unaware that Halloween is a cash-spending holiday second only to Christmas with adults spending $9.1 Billion for the holiday this year. That's not kids' play money.)
And now for the Number One. [Drum roll, please]
#1. The prize goes to the Walnut Creek, California, City Council that enacted a law that prohibits any person of any age to "wear a mask or disguise on a public street" without a permit from the sheriff. I trust that all the toddlers are now lining up at the sheriff's office to get their permits to go out on Halloween. If they don't, I am sure the lawyers of California will be busy bailing these kids out from jail.
Who says Halloween doesn't bring out "ghosties and goblins and things that go bump in the night"? Brought to you as a public service of Peterson Law Office, Bloomington, Minnesota. Please share this post.