10 Halloween Activities That Could Get You in Some Serious Trouble

The month of October is full of candy, festivities, offensive Halloween costumes, and a ton of poorly executed Halloween tricks. Unfortunately, not all of the holiday happenings are all that safe and as kids grow out of trick or treating, they seem to prefer replacing it with an illegal Halloween activity or two.

The tradition of “Mischief Night” got its start in the United States back in the 1930s, perhaps as a way to relieve some of the pressure caused by the Great Depression. Children would set off alarms, break windows, and even start fires - in fact, by 1984, there were over 800 fires in Detroit in the three days leading up to Halloween.

Not too much has changed when it comes to Halloween being considered a time for shenanigans. Thankfully, fires aren’t as trendy as they once were, but the holiday is still a nuisance for police who start getting called out the second too realistic Halloween decorations start making their way outside. This list contains some common Halloween tricks that may get you into some real trouble.

  • Creepy Clown Pranks and Costumes

    Creepy Clown Pranks and Costumes
    Video: YouTube

    If you’re planning on being a creepy clown for Halloween or staging clown pranks for your YouTube channel (despite how overdone it is all year round), you might want to reconsider. Don’t think it’ll be hilarious to stand perfectly still leering at people or following them around in the dark with a weapon in your hand. Why? Because pretty much the entire Internet has made it clear that creep clown stalkers will get beat up or even shot on sight. The “clown beat down” videos are starting to surpass the “clown prank” videos in popularity, so don’t become a “clown beat down” statistic. 

    Also, due to the ridiculous number of clown scares and the threats on social media, many Halloween festivals, schools, and parades have flat out banned clown costumes and even people with “clown-like” apparel from attending. It’s probably best to let the killer clown trend go.

  • Scaring People in Cars

    Scaring People in Cars
    Video: YouTube

    It’s really not wise to jump out at people in cars, because you might die or at least get severely injured. In India in 2015, two pranksters dressed as ghosts, got a friend to be their cameraman, and set out to scare the shit out of people on a fairly dark road. It went just like anyone with brains would have suspected - one of them got run over and left in the street. 

    Obviously, the driver didn’t believe they were ghosts, but they could have been escaped mental patients trying to kill him and steal his car- in fact that’s exactly what they looked like. Costume or not, cornering someone and banging on their car aggressively is going to result in you getting run over if the driver has any survival instincts whatsoever. So don’t do it. 

  • Dressing Up in Black Face

    Historically, white performers would apply greasepaint or shoe polish to their faces, then get on stage to perform exaggerated racist stereotypes and dehumanize black people. Why this tacky and obnoxious costume still happens today remains a mystery. It’s not clever, it’s lower than low-brow, and no one with any class has ever found it funny. It’s horribly offensive, culturally insensitive, and historically ignorant. Seriously guys, don’t dress in black face.   

  • Hanging Yourself (or Others)

    Hanging Yourself (or Others)
    Photo: mcfcrandall / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Suicide pranks are not funny, and if you're choosing the hanging prank, you need to be really careful. It's pretty easy to accidently make yourself pass out while trying to get into position, and once you're unconscious, the results can be tragic.

    In 2013, 16-year-old Jordan Morlan of Kentucky was trying to scare his little sister with what he thought was the perfect Halloween prank. The yard was already all decked out and among the decorations was a noose hanging from a tree. It seems he thought he could rig it so it looked like he was hanging from the noose - except he ended up really hanging himself.

    When his little sister saw him and went to tell their mother, Ginger Rodriguez, that Jordan was hanging from a tree, even she dismissed it as a joke at first. Upon further investigation, she realized to her horror what had happened and she couldn’t get him down. Paramedics were able to get him down, he was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support, but tragically he died from organ failure.

  • Ouija Board Sessions

    Ouija Board Sessions
    Photo: indi.ca / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Here’s the thing with Ouija boards: if (and that’s a big IF) you do get it to work and something is talking to you, you can’t believe a word of it. Do you really think entities with good intentions are hanging around waiting for you to break out a spirit board so they can help you through all your woes? With no strings attached? Have you not seen The Exorcist? Chatting up demons that are pretending to be harmless ghosties doesn’t go well, folks.

    If one is to believe even one of the countless horror tales from Ouija board users on Reddit, the recurring theme seems to be that saying goodbye doesn’t always end your session and many report strange occurrences and long-term haunting after messing around with a spirit board. One Reddit user claims the spirits were actually angry about the attempted contact in a dorm room one night and both mattresses in the room were stripped of their sheets, had upside-down crosses slashed into them, and the dorm room inexplicably caught fire that same night.

  • Galavanting Through Graveyards

    Galavanting Through Graveyards
    Photo: Drew Wilson Photography / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Not only is it trespassing to break into cemeteries, but Halloween is a night when police are in full patrol mode throughout residential areas and cemeteries - and they aren't the only ones. Hell hounds are vicious beasts of folklore said to guard entrances to the world of the dead, which would include graveyards and burial mounds. Since Halloween is said to be the night the veil between our world and the dead's is lifted, hell hounds will be on watch, hunting lost souls and guarding the secrets of the underworld, and they just may rip your throat out and drag your soul down with them.  

    Many people venturing out to graveyards at night have reported being followed home by evil entities. One Reddit user said after taunting a spirit during a ghost hunt in a graveyard, he ended up with a spectral stalker. He went from the graveyard to his home, then on to his student housing, and now lives in a new apartment with something menacing still following him every step of the way.  

    There’s another tale about something called the cemetery mimic. The poster claimed something followed him home from a cemetery, only this one isn’t haunting him in the traditional sense. Instead, he now has a Doppelganger. This spirit double has taken on the poster's form and now everyone close to him has seen it and thought it was just their friend or relative acting strangely.