Not everyone thinks of Halloween as a fun time. The holiday is listed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as one of the key dates for injuries and fatalities, so it pays to know a little bit about the trick-or-treating and Halloween laws, rules, and regulations in the Bay Area. Updated for 2011, these laws will leave you shaken to the bone if you do not observe their spooky wisdom. However, the Bay Area Halloween-related rules are not as outlandish as the Walnut, California, law still on the books from 1952 that states, "No person shall wear a mask or disguise on a public street without a permit from the sheriff."
Operation Boo means police home visits
Part of the reason you will see a lot of police officers going around and knocking on doors on Halloween is due to Operation Boo. Plainclothes officers will be implemented statewide to ensure that sex offenders are following the trick-or-treat rules, such as a curfew, no offering of candy, and no Halloween decorations. Aside from laws promoted by the state, there are only a few specific tips that define San Leandro, Berkeley, San Jose, Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco.
Curfew laws will be enforced
Like to have fun at night on Halloween? If you are a teenager, you might have your wings clipped due to teens of the past who ruined it for everyone else. Marin, Oakland, South San Francisco, and Dublin are just a few places where you can get in trouble for being out after 10 p.m. Although the rules are sometimes relaxed to midnight, in general, checking curfew laws and age limits should be part of your Halloween party plans.
San Francisco is dunking for crab apples
Just like last year, the 2011 Castro District celebration is canceled. The streets will not be shut down, and there will not be dancing in the streets. However, what people in San Francisco need to know is that Forbes.com and Zillow.com voted it as one of the top Halloween spots in the U.S. This means that Halloween is still your oyster whether you are taking a tour of San Francisco's haunted places or staying home to read up on local scary stories.
Marin, San Jose, and South San Francisco are Halloween-approved
Like San Francisco, San Jose has Zillow.com's 2010 vote of confidence for best places to trick-or-treat. Across the Bay, one of the important parts of Halloween for local Marin kids is the Halloween parade on Woodland Road. Local lawmakers were quick to approve the temporary closure of one lane in Kentfield from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on October 31.
Besides the California laws already in place, in San Jose, Marin, Berkeley, and South San Francisco, no rules pertaining to special Halloween weekend restrictions have been highlighted online for these communities in 2011.
Will Oakland pay for Halloween 2010?
The 2011 Halloween Zombie Apocalypse is part of a three-day Meetup.com event in San Leandro with over 45,000 RSVPs on Facebook so far. Last Halloween, a large public event in Oakland was ruined when someone opened gunfire on a party that injured nine people. Does this mean that local laws will be different this year? So far, online searches do not reveal that San Leandro and Oakland are adding any new Halloween-related laws or restrictions.
CDC asks you to be safe
In general, you can follow a few basic rules in order to avoid injuries and fatalities commonly associated with the Halloween season. The CDC has suggestions for trick-or-treaters of all ages on their "Halloween Health and Safety Tips" webpage. Otherwise, the 2011 Halloween weekend in the Bay Area is off to a good start.
Maryam Louise is a former English instructor and materials developer for the Department of Defense Refugee Resettlement and Education Program in Louisville, Kentucky. Since 1997, she has contributed to academic works on the topic of gender. She has been living in the Bay Area since 2009, continuing her 15-year career in media.