Posts Tagged ‘halloween’

Spooky Law on this Happy Halloween!

Woke up this morning to the sounds of Halloween: zombie growls, witch cackles, the resonating scream of a vampire victim. Ahhh… marathon Halloween television. When I reached the kitchen, I grabbed a healthy handful of Sweet Tarts, drank my coffee, and reviewed my schedule for the day, I decided to search for Halloween case law  as a way to connect the parties to our continuing legal curriculum. And what a treasure trove I found.

The first is, Halloween Law by Victoria Sutton, a wonderfully appropriate textbook that would allow a school to teach an entire first-year law school curriculum using just Halloween-related cases. Imagine learning about constitutional law, criminal law, tort law, property law and contract law, all with a scary twist (as if law wasn’t scary enough!). Ms. Sutton even skips Chapter 13 in honor of Halloween superstitions. You can buy the book on Amazon.

Another interesting link that gives a good rundown on Halloween case law is Daniel B. Moar’s excellent article, “Case Law From the Crypt, The Law of Halloween” published October, 2011 by the New York State Bar Association. The best tidbit from this article is how tort’s classic “duty not to scare” is changed on Halloween eve. On that night only, our expectations change. Another juicy one is from the opening of the article, where the plaintiff sued her neighbor for defamation through the “tombstones” on the neighbor’s lawn:  “The decorations included an ‘Insane Asylum’ directional sign pointed towards the plaintiff’s house and a homemade Halloween tombstone purporting to reference the plaintiff, which read:

At 48 She had
No mate No date
It’s no debate
She looks 88
She met her fate
in a crate
Now We Celebrate
1961–2009″

In case you want to dress up as something law-related for Halloween, here’s a blog article from 2009 that offers some pretty good options for you, including dressing up as the Socratic Method (Greek-inspired toga); Assault and Battery (er… salt shaker and… a battery); and the Billable Hour (carrying around a hourglass and a billing statement…), among others. You get the idea. Speaking of Halloween costumes, LegalZoom offers some excellent advice to employers regarding employee costumes. BEWARE, they say!

We also have a blog post that certainly outdoes my humble offering of links, from Harvard Law Library Blog: Halloween and the Law: A Round Up of Links. More recently, however, is Jonathan Turley‘s excellent annual listing of Halloween cases entitled Spooky Torts. And since it’s an annual listing, you can look back on his blog archives and find all his excellent listings of litigation horrors.

Finally, a real-life horror: laws that prohibit sex offenders from participating in Halloween. Sounds reasonable, yeah? Reason.com disagrees!

Enjoy the reads, learn a little law, offer up your own Halloween law link, stay safely within the law…

Happy Halloween!

and…. Happy Halloween, my friends.