The UK is all too used to reports of teenagers being banned from buying eggs and the occasional creepy clown story hitting the headlines around the Halloween season. Apart from laws to protect residents from antisocial behaviour, the UK doesn’t legally restrict festivities. However, the same can’t be said for the rest of the world. To celebrate Halloween, we take a look at Halloween related laws across the world.
By Cara Fielder. Published 24 October 2018. Last updated 31 May 2023.
No Halloween masks
In Dublin, Georgia, you can’t go out in public wearing a mask if you are under the age of 16 and Belleville, Illinois has the same rule for anyone under 12 years old. There have been laws in New York prohibiting the wearing of masks since the 1800s and in Walnut Creek, California you can’t wear a mask in public without a license from the sheriff.
Don’t dress like a nun or a priest
If you live in the American state of Alabama you can’t dress like a priest on Halloween or any other day. According to Alabama law, you may be arrested or fined if you dress up as a priest, rabbi, pastor, or any other member of the clergy of any religion. The state code is clear ‘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 another member of the clergy, is guilty of a misdemeanour 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.’
Illegal clown costumes
A few years back, there were numerous reports of clowns terrorising people in the French village of Vendragues. In response, authorities made it illegal to dress up as a clown on Halloween and the entire month of November for anyone 13 and older. People wanting to dress up as clowns for “fairs or other public festivities” need permission from the local authorities.
After a spate of scary clowns attacking people in 2017, the state police in Connecticut announced that wearing a clown costume for the purpose of intimidation would result in criminal penalties. The UK also suffered from several clown attacks leading to Bedfordshire Police announcing “We will not tolerate anyone inflicting harm on others over Halloween, whether that is by intimidating and threatening them, or causing criminal damage. This behaviour will be taken seriously, and you do risk a criminal record.”
No corsets for women
Women are not allowed to wear corsets in Merryville, Missouri. This is not a Halloween specific law, which made us wonder what happened to make it a rule. After a bit of research, we found it was because ‘the privilege of admiring the curvaceous, unencumbered body of a young woman should not be denied to the normal, red-blooded American male.’ A quote that is possibly creepier than any Halloween costume.
In the town of Bellville, Missouri, you can’t ask for candy on Halloween if you have passed the eighth grade or the age of an eighth grader (usually between 13-14 years old), enforcing the opinion that trick-or-treating is for children only.
No funny moustaches in church
Heading back to Alabama, you can’t wear a moustache when you are attending church on Halloween in Alabama if it’s funny enough to make people laugh. This law prohibits fake facial hair. Make sure you avoid wearing a moustachioed costume to church on Halloween.
No Halloween on a Sunday
In Rehoboth, Delaware it’s illegal to celebrate Halloween on Halloween day if October 31 falls on Sunday. The coastal town has prohibited celebrating the occasion on Sundays, meaning all festivities must take place on October 30. Further restrictions limit any trick-or-treating to be carried out between the hours of 6-8 PM. Break the law and you could be fined up to $150.
Say no to silly string
The use, sale, possession or even distribution of silly string is prohibited in Hollywood, California from 12:00 AM on October 31 until 12:00 PM on November 1. You could be fined up to $1000 for just holding the can.
Entry barred for costume wearers
Private companies or shops in California can bar you from entering if you are wearing a costume. This is a year round rule but has more impact at Halloween than any other time of the year.
The country of Jordan has made Halloween and its celebrations illegal. You can’t celebrate or attend Halloween celebrations. In 2015 the U.S Embassy in Jordan warned:
‘U.S. citizens should expect police reaction, including arrests, at any public Halloween-themed event. The U.S. Embassy advises that U.S. citizens travelling from their home to a Halloween party, or vice versa, cover up their costumes while in public or in a car.’