Law school shares weirdest Halloween laws from around the world

Tonight, kids (and adults) across the country will don costumes in celebration of All Hallow’s Eve aka Halloween.

This year, things are a little different, as coronavirus restrictions make it illegal for people in some areas to participate in the classic tradition of trick or treating.

And apparently that’s not the only law that governs us relating to Halloween and the supernatural.

Whether it’s receiving a custodial sentence for dressing up as a police officer, or not disclosing paranormal activity before selling your home, The University of Law has shared some of the most weird and wonderful laws that exist around the world today when it comes to Halloween.

The vile-high club

In Swaziland, the Civil Aviation Authority dictates that it is illegal for witches to fly above 150 metres on their broomsticks – doing so could land them with a fine of 500,000 Rand (£35k).

You may think this was an archaic law that simply hasn’t been changed, but it actually only came in in 2013, after a private investigator was caught flying a toy helicopter with a video camera on board.

Because of the people of Swaziland’s strong belief in the occult and black magic, this law applies to practicing witches.

A ban on dying

Most of us don’t really have an idea of when we might pass away, but in the French town of Sarpourenx, you might need to find a way to work it out.

That’s because the mayor once issued a proclamation forbidding people from dying in the area unless they had purchased and reserved a burial plot in a local cemetery.

He also added to this that those who do pass away without following this rule will be ‘severely punished’ – thought it is unclear how the mayor plans to punish the dead.

Illegal costumes

According to the Seamen’s and Soldiers’ False Characters Act 1906, and the more recent Police Act 1996, dressing up as or impersonating police or armed forces is illegal and doing so could land you a sentence.

You’ll probably see a few costumes like these, so it’s important to know where you might cross the line. The law states that the costume is illegal if it gives you the ‘appearance so nearly resembling that of a member of a police force (or armed forces) as to be calculated to deceive’.

Basically, you can get away with some camouflage or a hat, but don’t be going hyper-realistic with badges and official uniform.

Dressing up as a paramedic on the other hand is totally fine – so if your party is emergency services themed, that’s a safe bet.

No witch hunting allowed

The Witchcraft Act 1735 was passed by Parliament making it a crime for any person to claim an individual has magical powers or practices witchcraft, effectively abolishing the hunting and execution of ‘witches’ in Great Britain.

Bad news for Janet Horne, who was the last known person to be executed for witchcraft years before the law passed, in 1727.

This act has evolved over time – it was first repealed by the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951 and later by The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. This is a statutory instrument made under the ECA 1972 which introduced new rules about consumer protection in the European Community.

Even witches are protected by consumer laws.

Dying in Parliament

Believe it or not, there are laws in place making it illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.

The Coroners Act 1887 (DNA, Nov 7, 2007) states that this applies to “Anyone whose body is lying within the limits of any of the Queen’s palaces; or within the limits of any other house where Her Majesty is then residing”.

Because Parliament is classed as a royal palace, the convention arises that no parliamentarian dies until they are in an ambulance – which should at least mean no ghosts haunting the hallways there.

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