Do These Halloween Laws Scare You?!

October 28, 2011

As a small law firm, do you carry out fun Halloween events at your firm like dress up in costumes, bring in treats, or decorate the office?  If so, continue to do it because you probably are not breaking the law (and I am sure your firm is having a fun-tastic time).  If you are wondering, check out laws in this link. As I researched these supposed laws on WestlawNext, I found very few to be existent.

Ala.Code 1975 § 13A-14-4 says, “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.” Don’t say we didn’t warn you! 🙂

In regards to the law that declares kids in Rehoboth, Delaware cannot celebrate Halloween ON HALLOWEEN if October 31st is on a Sunday, but instead they are to trick-or-treat on the evening of October 30th between the hours of 6 – 8pm.  I could not find this to be actual; however, 4 Matthews Municipal Ordinances § 53:64 has three interesting sections: one section about time limits of trick-or-treating, one about area restrictions, and one regarding other regulations.  Very interesting!

While continuing my research on WestlawNext, I came upon a Halloween case regarding Freedom of Speech – fighting words, protected speech or activities. Purtell v. Mason, C.A.7 (Ill.) 2008, 527 F.3d 615 has to do with a Halloween tombstone decoration that a resident placed on his front lawn to express anger against neighbors, who had campaigned for ordinance that would force the resident to remove the eyesore from his yard. They did not lose their protected status under fighting-words doctrine and thus constituted protected speech; although tombstones apparently elicited emotional responses from neighbors, including fear, they did not inherently tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace, and did not raise any potential for violence or disruption during several weeks of display.

Tell us what you think about these Halloween laws, if you were able to find some other interesting facts about Halloween on WestlawNext, or maybe you were able to find one of these other ridiculous Halloween laws to be true.  Tell us about it!

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