No one has time to go through every law in the country, state by state, to analyze what every law really means. By that same token, over time old laws tend to be ignored (or not as strictly enforced) due to changes in society’s norms that make the law outdated. It may be more of a bother to change an old law — like how mispronouncing Arkansas is illegal in the state — than to simply decide not to strictly enforce it.
However, ignoring outdated laws also means there are some weird laws still on the books in many states — such as those that make bringing your horse to the Fountain Inn in South Dakota without pants or crossing state lines with a duck on your head in Minnesota illegal. But these aren’t the only laws that made our list.
There are others that are still enforced, even some that have been recently implemented, that are just as strange as the ones already mentioned. For instance, due to the amount of grease theft happening in North Carolina, as of 2012 you can face felony charges for stealing more than $1,000 worth of grease. (And that’s not even the one we selected as the state’s weirdest law.) In West Virginia, meanwhile, it is specifically legal to take home road kill for supper.
In Mobile, Alabama, it is illegal to have, make, or throw confetti. The law is a code featured in the section on littering.
If you spit publicly in Goodyear, Arizona — be it at a park, on a building, on a sidewalk, or on the street — you may face up to six months of jail time and a fine of $2,500.
There is a legal code instituted in Arkansas that explains how the state’s name should, and shouldn’t, be pronounced. While you probably won’t get fined for pronouncing the last “s” in the state’s name, it is technically illegal to mispronounce it while in “Ar-kan-saw.”
Don’t have a vacuum? Well, don’t bother asking your neighbor in Denver, where it is against the law to lend a vacuum to your next-door neighbors.
In Sarasota, standard parking fees apply to elephants tied to parking meters. Worried about getting your elephant dirty? Don’t let your passengers eat these 10 foods while riding your vehicle.
If by chance you’re someone who always carries ice cream cones in your pockets, beware. On Sundays you are not allowed to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket (specifically).
Hawaii has a handful of strange laws with regard to billboards and general safety measures, but one of the weirder ones is the law that stipulates residents can be fined for not owning a boat.
There are so many bizarre laws in Idaho that we couldn’t just choose one. Not only can you not fish from the back of a giraffe or camel, but buying your significant other candy in a box that weighs less than fifty pounds is illegal. If that’s not enough, in Pocatello, Idaho, you may not be seen in public without a smile.
Indiana has some peculiar laws. Among them is the confusing statute that says liquor stores cannot sell cold soft drinks. However, if the beverage is not cooled or on ice it can be sold legally. The reasoning behind this is unclear, but the law is the law.
Men of Iowa, shave your mustache if you plan to kiss anyone! In Iowa it is against the law to kiss a woman publicly if you’re sporting a mustache.
Topeka, Kansas, is riddled with odd laws that prohibit bathtubs from being installed in your home (or anywhere for that matter), and screaming at a haunted house is not allowed either. However, our favorite of these strange laws prohibits you from singing the alphabet at night out on the street. The idea behind this one is not directly related to the alphabet, but to any potentially loud disturbances late at night.
There are very specific rules for dyeing and selling live ducks in Kentucky. The law extends to dyeing any live baby chicks, duckling, other fowl, or rabbits, and the illegality of selling them in groups smaller than six. Violating this rule can land you a fine of $100 to $500.
The people of Louisiana must spend a lot of their time biting each other since there is a law in place that determines the difference between a bite that is considered simple assault or aggravated assault. difference between the two comes down to whether you use your natural teeth or false teeth, respectively.
Many cities in Maine have a weird law that’s unique to them, with some of the funnier ones being the prohibition against playing the violin while strolling down the streets of Augusta; the possibility of a $10 fine for roller skating or biking on the sidewalks of Biddeford; and the illegality of parking in front of a specific Dunkin’ Donuts location in South Berwick — but what if the Dunkin’ Donuts is replaced by a different establishment?
If you have a pet lion that you tote around town like a puppy, you may want to reconsider any potential plans of moving to Baltimore, where it is illegal to take a lion to the movies.
Sunday mass in Massachusetts can either be the safest place to be, or the most dangerous. If you’re a church-going male in this state, you apparently can’t be anti-gun — men are required by law to carry a rifle to church on Sunday. Oh, and if you’re a male with a goatee you’ll need to obtain a special license to keep it.
Michigan seems to have a strong stance on loyalty and fidelity with a law that makes adultery illegal. If adultery is committed, the spouse must put in a complaint within the year in order for the unfaithful person to receive their punishment — the offense is considered a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
Several laws that are still in place in Minnesota will leave you bewildered as to how they even came about in the first place, and how exactly some of them are enforced. Not only is it illegal to cross any state line with a duck on your head — which poses the question: How often does this happen? — but you cannot enter Wisconsin (specifically) with a chicken on your head. Some laws go as far as to tell people what they can and can’t do in their homes; for instance, your bathtub absolutely cannot have feet, and you are breaking the law if you sleep naked in the privacy of your own home.
Mississippi will look the other way if you have one illegitimate child, but any more and you’ll be facing charges. You will be guilty of a misdemeanor and looking at jail time of about a month, and/or a fine of up to $500.
In the town of Natchez, Missouri, it is against the law to give any type of intoxicant to elephants. This seemingly ridiculous law came about in 1810, when a man held a live elephant show but the elephant ended up drunk from beer.
The game of “Frisbee golf” (folf) is illegal to be played anywhere other than a “folf course” in Helena, Montana. What is folf exactly? It follows the same idea as golf — just as golfers have to make it into the hole with as few strokes as possible, folfers aim to sink their disc into the hole with the lowest number of throws.
If you’re ever craving soup in Nebraska, pop into any bar serving beer, since it’s illegal in the state to serve beer without also brewing a kettle of soup at the same time.
Although it’s no longer practiced or enforced, the old Nevada law making it legal to hang someone for killing your dog on your property is still on the books. This is one of those weird laws lingering from the days of the Wild West.
In New Jersey, if someone who is attempting to commit murder is wearing a bulletproof vest, it is considered an offense. However, if they’re going through with such an awful act — which will land them serious prison time anyway — I don’t think they’ll be too concerned about their wardrobe offense. (Just a guess.)
Don’t even think about starting to sing the national anthem or the state song, “Oh Fair New Mexico,” if you don’t plan on finishing it. It is illegal to only sing a portion of either of these songs in New Mexico.
Although likely not enforced — since you’ll see plenty of couples cozying up to each other in places like Central Park or Washington Square Park — you can technically be fined up to $25 for flirting in New York. It’s unclear exactly what this law defines as “flirting,” but some believe it has more to do with the act of soliciting.
Playing more than 10 hours of bingo in a week violates North Carolina’s gambling statutes.
It’s rather common to go to a bar and see a small dish of pretzels or nuts in front of you to snack on as you drink. However, in North Dakota it is illegal to serve beer and pretzels together at a bar, or even in a restaurant.
People seem to love getting animals drunk across America, because Ohio is just another state that has a law making it illegal to get a certain animal drunk. The animal here: a fish.
Sharing a drink in Oregon is illegal, so don’t even think about asking for a second straw.
In Pennsylvania, catching a fish by any body part except the mouth is illegal. So no using traps or nets, or trying to catch them by hand.
There’s an interesting law in Rhode Island that defines the legality of biting off your friend’s limbs. In case you’re wondering, if you bite any limbs off on purpose you’ll be looking at somewhere between 1 to 20 years of jail time. However, if it’s an accidental mutilation you won’t face any punishment.
While you’ll never have to work on a Sunday in South Carolina (since it is technically illegal), you may want to reconsider throwing any sort of dance party on your day off, since dancing is illegal on Sundays. If getting a tattoo was your next option, you may want to think twice — getting a tattoo on any day in South Carolina is officially considered an offense.
If you’re planning to bring your horse into the Fountain Inn while staying in South Dakota, it is only legal if the horse is wearing pants. Now, the pressing question is: Does that mean the pants have to cover all four legs, or just the hind two?
Apparently the people of Tennessee know all too well about subscription moochers for entertainment services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, because sharing your password to any of these is a crime. The law is really intended for all passwords, but it’s a perfect excuse to say no to your friend the next time they ask for your account information.
Peeing in public is always a big no-no regardless of whether you’re caught. In Texas, peeing on the Alamo is illegal and can result in prison time and a large fine worth thousands of dollars.
College students in Utah, get those keg party ideas out of your mind — there is no way you’ll be having one in this state. It is illegal to have beer in a container larger than two liters unless you are a wholesaler.
In the city of Barre, Vermont, it is the law to take a bath every Saturday night. There’s nothing quite like legally demanded rest and relaxation time.
The most bizarre law in Washington states that any “motorist with criminal intentions [must] stop at the city limits and telephone the police as he is entering the town.” If only all criminals did this, it would make the arresting them so much easier.
On your way home and don’t know what you’re making for dinner? If you see road kill in West Virginia, it is completely legal to take it home and cook for supper. This law was created to help clean the streets and decrease amount spent on road maintenance, but the health factor seems questionable.
If you’re ever drunk in Wyoming, don’t be drunk in a mine. You could go to jail for up to a year. Instead, get drunk in one of the best dive bars in the state.
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