Weird Halloween Laws for Our Nation’s Capital

by Nindo Mom on October 25, 2011

I live within commuting distance of Washington, D.C.–and with the festivities of Halloween trick-or-treating nearly upon us, I thought I’d relate a couple of special Halloween Laws that I found on Yahoo News that sound pretty weird.

1. In Washington, D.C., it’s illegal for anyone over 15 years old to wear a mask on Halloween.

Kids 16 years and older, as well as adults dressing up for the holiday, are expected to ditch their costume face masks in favor of face paint.

At first glance, this law seems pretty restrictive–even anti-Halloween, you might say. I suspect the reason behind it is that people with masks can get away with crimes because they won’t be recognized. And I guess 16-year-olds and adults are considered more likely to commit those crimes–therefore, no Halloween masks for them!

The odd thing about this law is this: how can you know how old a person is if they have a mask on??? Most 15-year-olds are adult-sized–so it seems to me that, unless you’re going to march around ordering each person to remove their mask off, you won’t necessarily know who the offenders are.

2. Sex offenders are not permitted to decorate for Halloween, nor are they allowed to wear costumes or hand out candy.

OK, this law actually makes a lot of sense, if you think about it.  Kids walking around from house to house, sometimes (unfortunately) without proper adult supervision. Too much temptation–and opportunity–perhaps, for a sex offender. (I can tell you, I wouldn’t want to take the chance with my child.)

Although the law is logical, it seems weird when you consider it on a more general level: forbidding a certain group of people (not in jail) to participate in a holiday.

But how would authorities know if a sex offender was breaking the law and handing out Halloween candy? According to the article on Yahoo News, D.C. law enforcement can make surprise  visits to offenders homes. But do they? At a time when budgets are tight all over, is the funding available to actually perform these surprise visits? Perhaps merely the threat, alone, will be enough to keep offenders in line and adhering to the letter of the law.

A Final Thought

Regardless of the laws in your neighborhood, and despite any precautions you suspect law enforcement is taking, always remember: your safety and that of your family is ultimately UP TO YOU. All too often, people fall into a false sense of security, believing that because something is against the law, that they’re protected from it.

There will always be people out there who don’t respect–or follow–the law, so we must always stay vigilant. Keep your eyes open for trouble, and trust youself if something happens that you’re afraid could be dangerous. If, on Halloween night, you see suspicious activity, don’t hesitate to report it to the police, immediately–for the sake of your family and for your community.

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