The United States is a large and diverse country where different cities and states have been given some legal leeway to enact their own rules and laws. This makes sense as life is different in a city like Miami on the East Coast compared with San Jose on the West Coast.
However, this has led to the passage of some truly bizarre ordinances that are not really enforced, but no one has made an effort to reverse or rescind them. For instance, you cannot sell a pickle in Connecticut unless it bounces, or play a game of bingo for more than five hours in North Carolina!
We combed through the law books in a couple of states to find the strangest law that’s been passed in each one.
1. Alabama: Don’t dress up as a priest for Halloween
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Alabama here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Alabama
In fact, it’s not just during Halloween. In Alabama, dressing up as or pretending to be a priest, nun, rabbi or other members of the clergy is illegal. If arrested, you’ll be guilty of a misdemeanor and when convicted you’ll be fined up to $500 or confinement in the county jail for up to 1 year.
2. Alaska: You can’t wake a sleeping bear to take a selfie
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Alaska here: The 10 Weirdest Laws in Alaska
Most people wouldn’t want to wake a sleeping bear anyway. But, as it turns out, tourists were visiting the bears’ dens during their hibernation period and disturbing the animal’s sleep schedule – all for a selfie. While you can’t get jail time for this offense, you might be penalized with a fine.
3. Arizona: No donkeys in bathtubs
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Arizona here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Arizona
In Arizona, it’s illegal for a donkey to sleep in a bathtub. A local dam broke in 1920 and the floodwaters whisked away a rancher’s donkey that had grown accustomed to sleeping in a bathtub. After working hard to rescue the animal, the town passed a law that prohibits donkeys from sleeping in the bathtub. It’s, however, okay for them to stand in one!
4. Arkansas: You cannot name your child Zabradacka
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Arkansas here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Arkansas
We’re still not sure why this law was set in the first place, or why it’s still running. What does it even mean? Whatever it does mean – in Arkansas, you cannot name your child Zabradacka. For unknown reasons.
5. California: Animals must not procreate near churches
You can read the full article on the weird laws in California here: The 10 Weirdest Laws in California
I can’t imagine the number of times this happened for a law to be put in place, but animals must not mate within close proximity of taverns, schools or places of worship within the state of California.
6. Colorado: Don’t mutilate the rocks
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Colorado here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Colorado
According to Colorado Article 13 – Recreation Land Preservation laws, it is illegal for any person to willfully mar, mutilate, deface, disfigure or injure beyond normal use any rocks, trees, shrubbery, wildflowers or other features of the natural environment in recreational areas of the state.
7. Connecticut: The pickles must bounce
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Connecticut here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Connecticut
In 1948, two pickle packers named Sidney Sparer and Moses Dexler were arrested for selling pickles unfit for human consumption. Connecticut’s Food and Drug Commissioner at the time, Frederick Holcomb, proclaimed that a real pickle “should bounce” when dropped from the height of one foot, leading to a new state ordinance.
8. Delaware: Don’t use your car as a picnic facility
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Delaware here: The 10 Weirdest Laws in Delaware
The town of Fenwick Island forbids people from tailgating or having a picnic on any street or highway within the corporate limits of the town. “Tailgating” here means standing, sitting and eating, or drinking on any street or highway and using a vehicle as a picnic facility.
9. Florida: Stay at home dads are considered vagrants
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Florida here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Florida
In the town of Oakland in Florida, men who are able to work but are habitually living on the livings of their wives or minor children are considered vagrants. Others included in this terminology include people who neglect all lawful businesses and are habitually spending all their time frequenting brothels, casinos or arcades, and liquor shops.
10. Georgia: No eating chicken with tableware
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Georgia here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Georgia
In Gainesville, Georgia, It’s illegal to eat fried chicken with anything other than your hands. This 1968 ordinance was put in place as a public relations stunt to celebrate Gainesville as the poultry capital of the world. A 91-year old woman was arrested in 2009 for breaking this rule while celebrating her birthday at a local eatery.
11. Hawaii: Don’t put coins in your ears
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Hawaii here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Hawaii
Early in the 20th century when Hawaii was part of the US, an order was issued to destroy the local currency. The island natives came up with an ingenious way of hiding coins…in their ears. The state government, however, put out a law to curtail this habit.
12. Idaho: Cannibalism is outlawed
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Idaho here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Idaho
Idaho is perhaps the only state in the Union that has an active ban on cannibalism. Any person who wilfully ingests the flesh or blood of a human is guilty of cannibalism and this is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not exceeding fourteen years.
13. Illinois: Don’t keep smelly dogs
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Illinois here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Illinois
The city of Galesburg in Knox County has a law prohibiting people from “keeping or maintaining any animal, poultry or fowl in such a manner to cause inconvenience or disturbance to other persons by reason of noise, odor or other cause”.
14. Indiana: Horse speed limit
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Indiana here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Indiana
If you own a horse in the Hoosier State, maybe you should look into attaching a speedometer to it, seriously. There is a law that says “No horse shall be driven or ridden on any street in the city at a speed in excess of ten (10) miles per hour and every horse shall be kept under control at all times by the person in charge thereof. Such person shall be subject to all applicable traffic regulations that apply to motor vehicles.”
15. Iowa: You are allowed to shoot Native Americans if more than five of them are on your property
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Iowa here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Iowa
During the days of Westward Expansion in the 19th century, white settlers, in what is now the state of Iowa, were at loggerheads with the native Indian population who saw the settlers as intruders. Bloody fights often broke out between the two groups and, at one point, the authorities gave the settlers the right to defend themselves by shooting at Indians if more than five of them invaded their property.
16. Kansas: Don’t screech your tires
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Kansas here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Kansas
In the city of Derby, screeching your tires on the road could land you in prison for a month or pay a fine of $500 or both.
17. Kentucky: Reptiles and religion
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Kentucky here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Kentucky
The use of reptiles in any religious activity within the state of Kansas is strictly prohibited. Anyone caught violating this ordinance shall be fined between $50 and $100.
18. Louisiana: Surprise pizzas are rude
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Louisiana here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Louisiana
You could be fined $500 or be imprisoned for not more than six months for sending a pizza delivery to someone’s house without their permission. Ordering food for someone without their knowledge is considered harassment.
19. Maine: No gambling at the airport
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Maine here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Maine
If you and your friends fancy a game of poker while waiting for a flight at the Biddeford Municipal Airport, you may want to hold on to those cards. Biddeford law prohibits people from being intoxicated, disorderly or engaging in any form of gambling or committing any act constituting a nuisance at the airport.
20. Maryland: Body studios are illegal
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Maryland here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Maryland
In the city of Baltimore, it is against the law for any person to operate, conduct or maintain a body studio. We could not come up with a clear definition of what a body studio is. If anyone knows what it is, please let us know.
21. Massachusetts: Don’t sell fewer than 24 ducklings before May 1st
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Massachusetts here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Massachusetts
It is illegal to sell living, baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl under two months of age. However, If you run a business that sells these animals for commercial breeding purposes, such ducklings may be sold or purchased only in quantities of 24 or more before May 1st.
This law goes ahead to warn people from selling living rabbits, chickens, ducklings that have been dyed, colored or otherwise treated so as to impart to them an artificial color.
22. Michigan: Men should not seduce or corrupt unmarried women
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Michigan here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Michigan
If a man seduces or debauches a woman who is not married, he’ll be guilty of a felony and can be fined not more than 2,500 dollars or be jailed for five years. This law, enacted in 1931, continues to state that prosecution shall commence one year from the time of committing the offense.
23. Minnesota: Mosquitoes are declared a public nuisance
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Minnesota here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Minnesota
Minnesota has a record 11,842 lakes spread across the state. Due to the numerous ‘still’ water bodies, mosquitoes have become a major problem for people in the state.
So much so that the state legislature declared in an edict that “ …all areas wherein mosquitoes incubate or hatch are declared to be public nuisances, as harmful or inimical to the health, welfare and prosperity of the inhabitants and may be abated as hereinafter provided. Therefore mosquito abatement may be undertaken, as provided in sections 18.041 to 18.161, in any or all areas of the state by any governmental unit.”
24. Mississippi: You’ll be fined $100 for cursing in public
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Mississippi here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Mississippi
Anyone who profanely swears, or uses vulgar and indecent language, or is drunk in any public place in the presence of two or more individuals will be arrested and when convicted will pay a fine of $100 or be imprisoned in the county jail for not more than 30 days or both.
25. Missouri: Don’t fight the bears
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Missouri here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Missouri
Anyone thinking about getting into fisticuffs with a black bear should think twice. Not only is it a life-threatening endeavor, but if you somehow survive, the full arm of the law will be after you. A law passed in 1998, due to reports on animal cruelty violations, outlawed this risky sport.
26. Montana: Don’t play ‘folf’ at night
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Montana here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Montana
The game of ‘folf’ or frisbee golf is played following the same rules as golf, but using specialized frisbees or “folf discs” instead of clubs and balls. Apparently, the sport is quite popular in Montana and the municipal authorities in Helena stepped in to control where and when the game is played through an edict that states “No person shall play or engage in the game of folf or throw a golf disc at nighttime in any area within the business improvement district that has not been sanctioned as a designated folf course by the city.”
27. Nebraska: Don’t be ugly in public
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Nebraska here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Nebraska
This strange law from the city of Lincoln was enacted in 1989 and states that “Any person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed, so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object, or an improper person to be allowed in or on the streets, highways, thoroughfares or public places in this city, shall not therein or thereon expose himself or herself to public view, under the penalty of a fine of $1 for each offense.”
28. Nevada: No swearing in Sin City
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Nevada here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Nevada
For a city that was formed on the backdrop of organised crime, speakeasies and illicit casinos, Las Vegas has had more to worry about than just a foul mouth. However, the municipal authorities found it necessary to ban the use of profane, vile or obscene language on the streets of the city.
29. New Hampshire: No picnics in cemeteries
You can read the full article on the weird laws in New Hampshire here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in New Hampshire
According to the city of Claremont municipal law, it is illegal to use cemeteries as picnic grounds, or consume alcoholic beverages, or bring the same upon the premises. It is also prohibited to walk or be in cemetery grounds any other time other than daytime.
30. New Jersey: No poor people in New Jersey
You can read the full article on the weird laws in New Jersey here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in New Jersey
According to this ordinance passed in 1941, it is illegal to bring a poor person into the state or move him from one county to another within the state without the permission of the county welfare board. Any person who disobeys this law is guilty of a misdemeanor and the aforementioned, poor person will be returned from whence he came in the manner provided by law.
31. New Mexico: Don’t hunt in cemeteries
You can read the full article on the weird laws in New Mexico here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in New Mexico
In the city of Deming, human traffic in cemeteries must be limited to avenues, walkways and roads when practical. Riding a bicycle or hunting is expressly prohibited within the confines of the cemetery premises.
32. New York: Bootblack stands should close on Sunday afternoons
You can read the full article on the weird laws in New York here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in New York
Shoe shiners or bootblacks in Buffalo are not allowed to work within the city, for hire or gain, or permit or require any of his/her employees to engage in such work after 1:00 p.m. on any Sunday afternoon. This law was repealed July 25th, 2017.
33. North Carolina: Camping in graveyards is illegal
You can read the full article on the weird laws in North Carolina here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in North Carolina
I don’t know why anyone would want to do this, but apparently there are people whose idea of a good time is relaxing in a cemetary. The state legislature decided to put a stop to this worrying, new trend by banning any hunting, picnicking, playing, romping, camping, and lying full length or sitting on the ground within the confine of a cemetary.
34. North Dakota: You can shoot an Indian on horseback as long as you are on a wagon.
You can read the full article on the weird laws in North Dakota here: The 7 Weirdest Laws in North Dakota
This ordinance came about in the early days of the Westward Expansion. Caravans of European settlers who were migrating into North Dakota territory were frequently getting attacked by bands of Native Americans. A law was passed that allowed migrating settlers to shoot back at their attackers provided they did it while riding on their wagons.
35. Ohio: Owning a bathtub is against the law
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Ohio here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Ohio
This law was passed back in the early 1800s when the Cholera and Smallpox epidemics were wiping out families across the state. The state authorities figured out that part of the problem was the common practice of sharing bathwater among family members; they curtailed the practice by banning bathtubs.
36. Oklahoma: The Mayor of Oklahoma city is not allowed to strike
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Oklahoma here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Oklahoma
In fact, not just the mayor but any city employee who shall engage in, cause, instigate, aid, or participate in any strike against the city, will be guilty of a Class A offense which is punishable by a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. Each day’s violation shall constitute a separate offense.
37. Oregon: Only one person is allowed in the restroom
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Oregon here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Oregon
In Portland, it is illegal for more than one person to occupy any restroom that is located in a public building or on public property, unless one of those persons is assisting a handicapped person or persons, a child or children under 12 years of age, or an elderly person, or persons in need of assistance.
This law was put in place to curb drug and prostitution-related activities that have plagued many cities in the U.S.
38. Pennsylvania: No psychics allowed
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Pennsylvania here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Pennsylvania
If you’re into fortune-telling or tarot card reading, you’ll have to go somewhere else if you want to get your palms read. The Keystone State has outlawed all types of psychic activity.
39. Rhode Island: Stealing a chicken could land you in jail for five years
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Rhode Island here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Rhode Island
According to Title 11 Chapter 8 Sec. 6 of the Rhode Island statutes, “Every person who breaks and enters, or enters in the nighttime without breaking, any building or enclosure in which are kept or confined any kind of poultry, with intent to steal any of the poultry, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than five 5 years, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars $500, or both.”
40. South Carolina: Railroad companies must not scare horses
You can read the full article on the weird laws in South Carolina here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in South Carolina
According to Title 58, chapter 17, section 58-17-3360 of the state law, electric hand lanterns shall be used in switching and moving trains. Also, the removal of hand or lever cars from the track and leaving it near a crossing shall be unlawful. Any railroad company shall be liable for damages for any horse frightened as a result of the violation of the provisions of this section by any of its employees.
41. South Dakota: Don’t sleep in the cheese factory
You can read the full article on the weird laws in South Dakota here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in South Dakota
It’s not the brightest idea to fall asleep at the wheel or work on heavy machinery. In the Mt.Rushmore State, you will be prosecuted under state law if you fall asleep in a cheese factory. However, if you fall asleep standing up, then you have nothing to worry about.
42. Tennessee: Duelists may not hold public office
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Tennessee here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Tennessee
According to article IX, section 3 of the state Constitution, “Any person who shall, after the adoption of this Constitution, fight a duel, or knowingly be the bearer of a challenge to fight a duel, or send or accept a challenge for that purpose, or be an aider or abettor in fighting a duel, shall be deprived of the right to hold any office of honor or profit in this State, and shall be punished otherwise, in such manner as the Legislature may prescribe.”
43. Texas: Don’t leave your keys in the ignition
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Texas here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Texas
Under Texas statutes, a person may not leave a vehicle unattended without stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, setting the parking brake effectively and, if standing on a slope, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.
44. Utah: It’s illegal to molest your pet, but it’s okay if animal services do it
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Utah here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Utah
In the city of Ogden, it is illegal to tease, annoy, disturb, molest or irritate an animal that is confined at your property. However, the law has an exception for animal services officers or law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their authority.
45. Vermont: Honey, can I put my teeth on?
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Vermont here: The 7 Weirdest Laws in Vermont
Days are long gone when men had to tell women what to wear. However, The Green Mountain State has an obscure law that dictates that women must get permission from their husbands if they want to get false teeth. This law, while unenforced, hasn’t yet been repealed.
46. Virginia: Hunting on Sundays is prohibited, unless it’s Raccoons
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Virginia here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Virginia
Virginia code § 29.1-521 states that it is unlawful to “hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, with a gun, firearm, or other weapon, or to hunt or kill any deer or bear with a gun, firearm, or other weapon with the aid or assistance of dogs, on Sunday.”
This law, however, shall not apply to baiting nuisance species of animals and birds, nor to baiting traps for the purpose of taking fur-bearing animals that may be lawfully trapped.
47. Washington: Sasquatch lives matter
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Washington here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Washington
On April 1, 1969, the Board of Commissioners of Skamania County adopted an edict for the protection of sasquatch (also known as a yeti, bigfoot, or giant hairy ape). The ordinance has been partially repealed and amended since, and the revised ordinance went into effect on April 2, 1984. The amended ordinance declared the animal “an endangered species” and created a “Sasquatch Refuge”. The nearby Whatcom County also adopted a resolution that declares the county a sasquatch protection and refuge area.
48. West Virginia: Don’t fly a black or red flag
You can read the full article on the weird laws in West Virginia here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in West Virginia
According to WV code Chapter 61 Sec.1-6, “It shall be unlawful for any person to have in his possession or to display any red or black flag, or to display any other flag, emblem, device or sign of any nature whatever, indicating sympathy with or support of ideals, institutions or forms of government, hostile, inimical or antagonistic to the form or spirit of the constitution, laws, ideals, and institutions of this state or of the United States.” This edict was however repealed in 2010.
49. Wisconsin: No nukes in Sun Prairie
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Wisconsin here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Wisconsin
According to the city of Sun Prairie municipal code Sec.8.40.010, “No nuclear weapons, delivery systems for such weapons, or components expressly intended to contribute to the operation, guidance, or delivery of a nuclear weapon shall be produced within the city.”
This law also bans the storage of waste from the production of nuclear weapons, their components, or commercial nuclear power within the city limits.
50. Wyoming: Fishing with a firearm is prohibited
You can read the full article on the weird laws in Wyoming here: The 8 Weirdest Laws in Wyoming
This state law has declared that “no person shall take, wound or destroy any fish of Wyoming with a firearm of any kind or nature. Fish may only be taken or fished for with a maximum of two rods or poles, with lines and hooks attached, and with the user in attendance.”
51. Philadelphia: Licensed bloggers
All businesses in Philadelphia are required to pay a one-time $300 license fee, or $50 annually, to operate in the city. Recently, the law was extended to include bloggers. The city uses Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax records to enforce the regulation by matching federal tax payments to local reporting. To be on the safe side, you’ll need to seek the services of a Pennsylvania registered agent.
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