It’s that magical time of year again, a bit of mischief before the season of thanks and gift-giving officially begins. Halloween is a favorite of adults and children alike and provides an entire season of tantalizing fun should one choose to indulge. Halloween as we know it comes from the ancient Celtic tradition festival of Samhain, the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark cold winter, a time that was associated with death. It was believed that on October 31, ghosts of the dead returned to Earth. (By the way, winter is coming 2019 . . . excuse the shameless Game of Thrones plug). Here in Arizona, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is also commonly celebrated thanks to the rich culture borrowed from our neighbor to the South. The Day of the Dead is a celebration of one’s ancestors, honoring them as they were when they were alive on Earth. The Day of the Dead is a celebration of life—and a bit of a different vibe than Halloween, born from the Celtic tradition—but it helps us to remember that death is a part of life.
Whether you are celebrating Halloween, Día de los Muertos, or just relishing the opportunity to don a costume and mingle amongst trick-or-treaters or lively bar goers, there are some pretty crazy laws restricting the kind of tricks one can get up to on Halloween night.
Wearing a mask this Halloween?
In Dublin, Georgia, you cannot go out in public wearing a mask if you are under the age of 16. In New York, there have been laws prohibiting the wearing of masks since the 1800s. And in Walnut Creek, California, no one is allowed to wear a mask without prior permission from the sheriff. Bad news bears for all of the Kylo Ren fans out there!
Thinking of going as “IT”?
Do you remember the 2016 “Clown Attacks?” People dressed as clowns and hiding in the woods, as well as terrorizing subways and schools? Well, it appears France also had a “clown problem” and made it illegal to wear costumes or makeup on Halloween if you are over the age of 12 years old!
Taking the kids trick-or-treating but hoping to snag some candy for yourself?
Every year there is that one group of teenagers taking candy from the little ones and failing to observe the “take one” rule set by naïve adults who would rather not stand by the door and pass out candy all night. Well, in Bellville, Missouri, you can’t ask for candy or trick-or-treat if you are older than an eighth grader.
Glitter is okay but not . . .
Even Hollywood, a self-proclaimed capital of the weird and macabre, has a law on the books banning the possession or sale of silly string from 12:00 a.m. on October 31 until 12:00 a.m. on November 1st.
And some countries, like Jordan, have made the holiday itself illegal.
While Arizona is definitely home to some strange laws—I think it is still actually illegal for women to wear pants in Tucson—and not just on Halloween, Arizona’s DUI laws and penalties are enough to scare even the most dedicated ghosts and ghouls. With Arizona remaining one of the toughest states in the nation when it comes to DUI penalties, please remember to trick-or-treat responsibly this Halloween. Unless you plan on going as an ex-convict for next year’s Halloween, please drive sober and always know your rights!
Jilio-Ryan, 10 Weird Halloween Laws You Should Be Aware of, Jilio-Ryan Court Reporters (2016), https://www.jilioryan.com/blog/10-weird-halloween-laws-you-should-be-aware-of/