46 Weird Laws Still on the Books

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sfe-co2/iStock via Getty Images

You go about your day trying to be a good citizen, but you have no idea how many laws you're probably breaking. Maybe you're throwing snowballs, yelling at an umpire, or using high-tech equipment to make sure your shoes fit right. You know, everyday stuff.

Just to be safe, check out this list of 46 weird laws so you know what not to do.

1. Vermont banned banning clotheslines.

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You read that right. In 2009, Vermont made it illegal for groups like neighborhood associations to ban clotheslines.

2. You can't throw rocks at trains in Wisconsin.

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Wisconsin has a law that you cannot "propel any stone, brick, or other missile at any railroad train." I think this means that you can technically drop a brick onto a railroad train, but no one's ever tested it.

3. You can't make fake drugs in Arizona.

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In Arizona, you can not manufacture or distribute "imitation controlled substances," which I guess is why they didn't film Breaking Bad there.

4. Blasphemy is still illegal in Michigan.

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Blasphemy laws used to be very common in the United States, but there are still some in existence, including in Michigan, where cursing God is a G**-d*** misdemeanor.

5. Dogs can't hunt big game mammals in California.

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Allowing dogs to pursue big game [PDF] mammals, such as bears or bobcats, is illegal in California. We were surprised to learn that this was an issue, because our office dog runs away from squirrels - although to be fair, they are larger than her.

6. Don't bite while boxing in Utah.

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Bad news for Damon Salvatore and Mike Tyson, boxing in Utah cannot feature any biting.

7. Swearing at sports events is illegal in Massachusetts.

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If you're over 16, it's against to law to swear at players or officials during sporting events in Massachusetts, so I guess at the end of every Red Sox game, 37,000 people are taken into custody.

8. You can't use a false name at a hotel in New Hampshire.

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In New Hampshire, it is illegal to check into a hotel using a false name.

9. Pretending to be a religious figure is illegal in Alabama.

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And speaking of false identities, at public places in Alabama, you cannot pretend to be a minister, nun, priest, or rabbi if you aren't one, thereby making productions of The Sound of Music technically illegal. Unless the nuns are played by nuns, that is.

10. You couldn't throw snowballs in Severance, Colorado until 2019.

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This one isn't technically still on the books, but it juuuuuuuuust got changed. Thanks to a precocious 9-year-old boy, it's finally legal to throw snow balls in a Colorado town known for its snow.

11. You have to believe in something in order to hold public office in Texas.

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In Texas, officials aren't allowed to be, "excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledges the existence of a Supreme Being." So, if someone doesn't believe in a Supreme Being...exclude away?

12. Bingo games can't last more than five hours in North Carolina.

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That's great news if, like me, you find Bingo boring after four minutes.

13. You can't sniff glue with the intent to get high from it in Indiana.

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In Indiana, you're not allowed to sniff toxic vapors of any kind (including glue) with, "intent to cause a condition of intoxication, euphoria, excitement, exhilaration, stupefaction, or dulling of the senses." So if you're doing it for other reasons, that's fine.

14. Adultery is still a crime in New York.

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Spitzer. Giuliani. Weiner. Paterson. FDR. They all did something punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

15. Biting someone's arm off is illegal in Rhode Island.

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Rhode Island has a law against biting off the limbs of another person. It's a shame you have to legislate things like that, but I, you know, guess it will be good for when the zombies come...

16. Teachers can't talk to students about hand-holding in Tennessee.

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The Gateway Sexual Behavior Law in Tennessee prevents teachers from discussing anything that might be considered a "gateway" to sex. That includes kissing and hand-holding.

17. You can't sell your eyes in Texas.

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When they sang, "The eyes of Texas are upon you," they meant that the state already has a pair and doesn't need to buy yours. It's not just eyes, either. It's illegal to sell any of your bodily organs.

18. Dance halls can't be close to cemeteries in South Carolina.

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In South Carolina, dance halls are not allowed to be within a quarter-mile of a rural church or cemetery.

19. They also can't be open on Sundays.

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South Carolina also requires their dance halls to be closed on Sundays. It's almost like they don't like dancing.

20. Florida passed a law in 1974 allowing the state to ban alcohol sales during hurricanes.

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As a matter of public safety, the state wanted to curb people's ability to throw "hurricane parties," which are apparently a thing in Florida.

21. Utah doesn't have happy hour.

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It's illegal to discount booze or do anything that might promote overindulgence, so Happy Hour is right out.

22. You can't use X-rays for shoe fittings in Washington.

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Don't worry Dorothy, they fit.

23. You can't wound a fish with a firearm in Wyoming.

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You literally cannot shoot fish in a barrel in Wyoming, where they have a law against fishing with firearms that specifically says you cannot "wound" the fish with a gun, either.

24. Delaware doesn't like r-rated movies at drive-ins.

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The state has a ban on playing R-rated movies specifically at drive-in theaters (because they're outside, maybe?), but it's probably unconstitutional and no one enforces it.

25. Don't try to corrupt public morals in Florida.

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Attempting to "corrupt public morals" makes you guilty of a misdemeanor in Florida. How high is the bar here, exactly?

26. You can't live on a boat for more than 30 days in Georgia.

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That's during a calendar year, which presumably means you could spend 59 legal days crashing on your boat from December to January.

27. Silly string has been banned in Southington, Connecticut since 1996.

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No word on whether Serious String is still allowed. Selling or using the silly stuff in public places comes with a $99 fine.

28. Hitting a vending machine is a no-no in Derby, Kansas.

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Even if you're really frustrated because you paid for those Cool Ranch Doritos, and you desperately need those Cool Ranch Doritos and... GIMME MY DORITOS!

29. You can't make someone get a microchip in Wisconsin.

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In Wisconsin, "no person may require an individual to undergo the implanting of a microchip." ONLY IN WISCONSIN? Can we take this thing nationally?

30. Billboards are illegal in Hawaii.

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This is probably the best idea.

31. You've gotta keep your hypnotizing indoors in Everett, Washington.

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Planning to mesmerize people? Absolutely do not do it with your storefront signage or out on the street or at your theater's ticket booth.

32. Avoid hunting in cemeteries in Enfield, New Hampshire.

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You also can't hop the fence to get in [PDF].

33. People with sexually transmitted diseases can't get married in Nebraska.

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The law says, "No person who is afflicted with a venereal disease shall marry in this state." As you're probably guessing, that's a tough one to enforce, so if you get a marriage license without being detected, the marriage license still counts.

34. Every tanning bed in Iowa needs a warning sign.

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The hazards of using tanning beds must be posted conspicuously next to every single tanning bed.

35. Doors to public buildings in Florida must open outward.

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Which makes sense. If you're running away from an alligator in the library, you don't want to have to stop to pull a door open.

36. Reno, Nevada, doesn't allow people to lie down on sidewalks.

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So what's even the point of visiting?

37. you can be fined for leaving your car door open too long in Oregon.

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Sounds silly, but cyclists get why.

38. You also can't throw your urine out of your car there.

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Oregon also has a law preventing improper disposal of human waste while you're on the road, so if you're traveling with containers of urine through Oregon, don't toss them out.

39. It's illegal to play dominoes in Alabama on a sunday.

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You also aren't supposed to hunt, shoot, play cards, or race that day. You also can't promote or engage in a bear wrestling match (any day).

40. Do not molest butterflies in Pacific Grove, California.

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When the monarch butterflies make their annual pilgrimage to town, give them a wide berth. Look with your eyes, not with your hands, people.

41. Emergency medical technicians aren't allowed to help dogs in Massachusetts.

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A bill was put forward in 2019 to allow them to treat police dogs who are injured in the line of duty.

42. You can't sell dog hair in Delaware.

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You can't "recklessly" sell cat hair, either, nor "any product made in whole or in part" by your furry friends' fur.

43. Farmers can't sell pickles to customers at farmers' markets in Connecticut.

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It's a myth that a pickle has to bounce to be legally a pickle, but it's not a myth that you can't sell a pickle (bouncing or otherwise) if you're a farmer in Connecticut. Salsa, too. Anything with a pH value at 4.6 or below is forbidden, but there's a bill trying to change that.

44. You can't screech your tires in Derby, Kansas.

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According to code 10.04.200, you can be fined $500 for your tire noise, so drive politely out there.

45. You can't wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a crime in New Jersey.

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If you're planning to rob a bank, you'll get in double trouble if you're wearing bullet-resistant gear during the stick-up.

46. It's illegal to be drunk on a train in Michigan.

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Once that train enters Ohio, shots for everybody.

For more on these weird laws, check out the full video below.

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10 Killer Gifts for True Crime Fans

Ulysses Press/Little A
Ulysses Press/Little A

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Humans have a strange and lasting fascination with the dark and macabre. We’re hooked on stories about crime and murder, and if you know one of those obsessives who eagerly binges every true crime documentary and podcast that crosses their path, you’re in luck—we’ve compiled a list of gifts that will appeal to any murder mystery lover.

1. Donner Dinner Party: A Rowdy Game of Frontier Cannibalism!; $15

Chronicle Books/Amazon

The infamous story of the Donner party gets a new twist in this social deduction party game that challenges players to survive and eliminate the cannibals hiding within their group of friends. It’s “lots of fun accusing your friends of eating human flesh and poisoning your food,” one reviewer says.

Buy it: Amazon

2. A Year of True Crime Page-a-Day Calendar; $16

Workman Calendars/Amazon

With this page-a-day calendar, every morning is an opportunity to build your loved one's true crime chops. Feed their morbid curiosity by reading about unsolved cases and horrifying killers while testing their knowledge with the occasional quizzes sprinkled throughout the 313-page calendar (weekends are combined onto one page).

Buy it: Amazon

3. Bloody America: The Serial Killers Coloring Book; $10

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Some people use coloring books to relax, while others use them to dive into the grisly murders of American serial killers. Just make sure to also gift some red colored pencils before you wrap this up for your bestie.

Buy it: Amazon

4. The Serial Killer Cookbook: True Crime Trivia and Disturbingly Delicious Last Meals from Death Row's Most Infamous Killers and Murderers; $15

Ulysses Press/Amazon

This macabre cookbook contains recipes for the last meals of some of the world’s most famous serial killers, including Ted Bundy, Aileen Wuornos, and John Wayne Gacy. This cookbook covers everything from breakfast (seared steak with eggs and toast, courtesy of Ted Bundy) to dessert (chocolate cake, the last request of Bobby Wayne Woods). Each recipe includes a short description of the killer who requested the meal.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Ripped from the Headlines!: The Shocking True Stories Behind the Movies’ Most Memorable Crimes; $15

Little A/Amazon

In this book, true crime historian Harold Schechter sorts out the truth and fiction that inspired some of Hollywood’s best-known murder movies—including Psycho (1960), Scream (1996), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), and The Hills Have Eyes (1977). As Schechter makes clear, sometimes reality is even a little more sick and twisted than the movies show.

Buy it: Amazon

6. The Deadbolt Mystery Society Monthly Box; $22/month

CrateJoy

Give the murder mystery lover in your life the opportunity to solve a brand-new case every single month. Each box includes the documents and files for a standalone mystery story that can be solved alone or with up to three friends. To crack the case, you’ll also need a laptop, tablet, or smartphone connected to the internet—each mystery includes interactive content that requires scanning QR codes or watching videos.

Buy it: Cratejoy

7. In Cold Blood; $10

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Truman Capote’s 1965 classic about the murder of a Kansas family is considered by many to be the first true-crime nonfiction novel ever published. Capote’s book—still compulsively readable despite being written more than 50 years ago—follows the mysterious case from beginning to end, helping readers understand the perspectives of the victims, investigators, and suspects in equal time.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide; $13

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Any avid true crime fan has at least heard of My Favorite Murder, the popular podcast that premiered in 2016. This book is a combination of practical wisdom, true crime tales, and personal stories from the podcast’s comedic hosts. Reviewers say it’s “poignant” and “worth every penny.”

Buy it: Amazon

9. I Like to Party Mug; $12

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This cheeky coffee mug says it all. Plus, it’s both dishwasher- and microwave-safe, making it a sturdy gift for the true crime lover in your life.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Latent Fingerprint Kit; $60

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Try your hand (get it?!) at being an amateur detective with this kit that lets you collect fingerprints left on most surfaces. It may not be glamorous, but it could help you solve the mystery of who put that practically empty carton back in the refrigerator when it barely contained enough milk for a cup of coffee.

Buy it: Amazon

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The 10 Best Holiday Gifts $25 and Under

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Whether you're shopping on a budget or looking for gifts for the person in your life who's halfway between acquaintance and friend, this list of great presents for small prices should do the trick. Fun and silly, thoughtful and serious, useful and frivolous, this group of gifts is filled with old favorites and new delights. Fair warning: You may end up buying two of whatever you pick.

1. Anker Power Bank; $22

Amazon

Need a little extra boost? Tired of looking down at the Low Power Mode warning? This incredibly light on-the-go charger is a tiny powerhouse that will keep your phone at 100 percent and keep you from scrambling to find a wall outlet at the airport. It also comes with its own travel pouch and an 18-month warranty, but the cable is sold separately. It's a solid one-for-me-one-for-them gift.

Buy it: Amazon

2. FYC Wool Socks; $13

Amazon

For the friend in your life with feet, consider these thick, stylish socks that evoke a vintage design while keeping toes toasty (and sweat-free). They're made of a blend of cotton, wool, and polyester, so you get the best of all worlds: comfortable, warm, and breathable. Plus, they're versatile enough to go with pajamas, your hiking gear, or Zoom-ready business casual.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Zulay Kitchen Stovetop Espresso Maker; $17

Amazon

This sturdy, classic brewer is perfect for the person in your life who is interested in upping their cup game. It's simple and sleek, but it also comes with a pressure valve (couldn't we all use one?) to boost caffeine extraction, and the design allows for espresso, crema, foam emulsions, and more. Best of all, clean up is easy, so you don't have to worry about grimy boiled bean build-up.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Meriwool Beanie; $21

Amazon

Need a great gift that everyone can appreciate? No sweat! Meriwool's wool beanie comes in nine different colors and will look great on anyone hoping for something soft to hug their cranium. Made with 100 percent all natural superfine 18.5-micron Merino wool, it's not a head-scratcher, and the material is naturally moisture-wicking.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Bob Ross Coloring Book; $7

Amazon

No one is going to judge you for using paintbrushes on this coloring book. Or crayons, markers, pencils, or your fingers. The beauty of this official coloring book celebrating the art of American icon Bob Ross is that it gives you a rough image to project your own designs on. It's far from paint-by-numbers, and it'll be a welcomed gift for anyone in your life who needs to destress with a little creativity.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Jim from The Office Funko; $9

Amazon

Six days since our last nonsense seems ambitious, but fans of the hit workplace comedy will appreciate having an adorable version of Jim Halpert to sardonically stare at them from behind their keyboard. Naturally, there's also figures of Michael, Pam, Dwight, and the whole Office gang in case you've got someone with a growing collection on your list. Plus, there's always the rabbit hole of Funkos that should satisfy fans of everything from Anime to Zombie flicks.

Buy it: Amazon

7. The Godfather Family Album; $25

Amazon

It's almost criminal that this book is so inexpensive. This 512-page hardcover gem showcases Steve Shapiro's iconic on-set photography of the immortalized mob film. Striking, unique images of Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, and the rest of the cast of The Godfather sit alongside the sharp film writing of historian Paul Duncan, making this a definitive tome that belongs on every fan's coffee table.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Star wars The Child Monopoly; $20

Amazon

There are hundreds of different versions of the classic game about buying rectangles and charging outrageous prices for landing on the wrong ones, but for those who are loving The Mandalorian, this version drops you right into the series' adventures. The only problem is that everyone will call dibs on the Hoverpram piece. This is the way.

Buy it: Amazon

9. British Chocolate Bar Selection; $20

Amazon

Give someone the ability to travel to Britain from the comfort of wherever they can unwrap a wrapper. Crunchie, Bounty, and Fry's Peppermint Cream are just a few of the offerings in this Global Treats pack that can remind someone of home or share a piece of the UK with your favorite anglophile. Don't worry—no fun size here. They're all full size and delicious.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Stanley travel mug; $25

Amazon

Stanley has over a hundred years of quality craftsmanship under its toolbelt. This sturdy, cup-holder-ready mug benefits from that experience and boasts double-wall vacuum insulation to keep piping coffee hot for seven hours and chilly lemonade cold for up to 10. Toss in some ice cubes, and whatever you're sipping stays cold for up to 30! It comes with a trigger action lid for one-handed, leak-proof use, making it perfect for the exercise bike or the office. Everyone could use another way of transporting their drink of choice, and this might just replace what they've already got.

Buy it: Amazon