Is Wearing a Halloween Costume Illegal in the Hudson Valley?
You may have heard that's it's technically illegal to wear a Halloween mask in New York State. Is that really true?
Apparently there is an old law on the books that says it is illegal for people to congregate in New York State while wearing masks. Many states have similar laws that date back to the 1800s. One of the main reasons for these types of laws was to prohibit groups like the KKK from meeting in public.
While the intent of the law was to protect against violent protests, in some states it's been used to arrest innocent people like motorcyclists wearing helmets and unruly trick or treaters.
So what's the deal in the Hudson Valley? Could you be arrested for wearing a Halloween mask?
According to New York State penal code 240.35 someone is breaking the law if they are...
Being masked or in any manner disguised by unusual or unnatural attire or facial alteration, loiters, remains or congregates in a public place with other persons so masked or disguised, or knowingly permits or aids persons so masked or disguised to congregate in a public place.
However, there is an exception when the mask is worn...
in connection with a masquerade party or like entertainment if, when such entertainment is held in a city which has promulgated regulations in connection with such affairs, permission is first obtained from the police or other appropriate authorities.
So, while other states may technically be able to arrest trick-or-treaters under their own anti-masking laws, it's probably not going to happen in New York.
So feel free to dress in any costume you like. It's perfectly legal to wear a Halloween mask in the Hudson Valley, no matter what your Facebook friends may say.