Quirky Legislation Across America: Unusual Laws from Alabama to Missouri

Americans are well aware of standard legal norms like not running red lights or shoplifting, but what about selling cars on a Sunday in Missouri? Yes, that’s actually illegal. In this first part of our three-part series, Fox News Digital brings you some of the most bizarre laws from Alabama to Missouri, offering a glimpse into the peculiar legal landscape across the U.S.

bizarre laws in america

From dressing as a clergy member in Alabama to refraining from eating frogs that participated in frog-jumping contests in California, these laws are sure to surprise and entertain you. Follow along as we journey from state to state, exploring the fascinating, amusing, and sometimes downright peculiar laws that have allegedly shaped our country. It’s worth noting that these laws may not be exclusive to the states mentioned.

Alabama: Don’t Impersonate Clergy Members

A criminal code in Alabama states that no person will pretend to be a minister of religion or any other member of the clergy (nun, priest, rabbi).

It is a Holy Communion, studio shot composition.

In the state of Alabama, do not dress as a member of the clergy — unless you’re willing to break the law.  (iStock)

If the law is broken, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor.

The punishment, according to Alabama code Title 13A, is “a fine not exceeding $500.00 or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

Alaska: Keep Quiet with Loud Tools at Night

In Fairbanks, Alaska, it’s illegal to operate or use loud instruments between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., according to the city’s code of ordinances Chapter 46, Article II, Sec. 46-42.

In Fairbanks, Alaska, think twice before you ride a motorcycle or operate a noisy power tool after 11 p.m. and before 7 a.m.

This includes “a pile driver, pneumatic hammer, bulldozer, road grader, loader, power shovel, derrick, backhoe, power saw, manual hammer, motorcycle, snow machine or other instrument, appliance or vehicle which generates loud sounds or noise, after having been informed by another that such operation or use is disturbing the peace and privacy of others,” the city’s code on Offenses Against Public Peace and Order states.

Arizona: Hands Off the Crane Game

In Arizona, it is illegal to mess with a crane game, according to Title 13, Chapter 33.

claw machine stock photo

In Arizona, you’d be wise not to “alter the game” so that the “claw is unable to grab prizes, display prizes” and more.  (iStock)

“No person shall alter the game so the claw is unable to grab prizes, display prizes in a way where the claw is unable to grab those prizes, use money as prizes or award prizes in the game which are redeemable for cash or currency,” the law states.

It’s also against the law to misrepresent the value of prizes that a person may win in a crane game.

Breaking this law is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Arkansas: Silent Horns at Late-night Sandwich Shops

In Arkansas, “no person shall sound the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9:00 p.m.,” according to Little Rock’s code of ordinances Chapter 18, Sec. 18-54.

cheese sandwich

In Arkansas, beeping the horn of a car after 9 p.m. at sandwich or soda shops is out of the question.  (iStock)

In 2020, Reuters also reported on Arkansas Title 1 — which addresses the pronunciation of the state name.

General Provisions Chapter 4 on “State Symbols, Motto, Etc.” states that Arkansas “should be pronounced in three (3) syllables, with the final “s” silent, the “a” in each syllable with the Italian sound, and the accent on the first and last syllables.”

Arkansas Fox News graphic

Arkansas is pronounced this way: AR-kən-saw. The final “s” in the state’s name is silent — and there’s a law about that.  (Fox News)

“The pronunciation with the accent on the second syllable with the sound of ‘a’ in ‘man’ and the sounding of the terminal ‘s’ is an innovation to be discouraged,” Reuters said on its FindLaw page.

California: No Frog Feast After Jumping Contests

California’s Fish and Game Code, Article 2, Frog-Jumping Contests (6880-6885), states that any number of live frogs are allowed to be used in frog-jumping contests.

Tiny frog on little hands.

A tiny frog is held in little hands — but in California, eating the creature if it’s been used in a frog-jumping contest is very much against the law. (iStock)

Should one of the poor creatures pass on or be killed during the competition, however, “it must be destroyed as soon as possible, and may not be eaten or otherwise used for any purpose,” the law says.

Colorado: Indoor Furniture Only Outdoors

In the Centennial State, no person shall keep, use or store upholstered furniture outside unless that furniture is specifically manufactured for outdoor use.

couch and mattress iStock

A mattress and sofa should not be kept, used or stored outdoors in Colorado unless that furniture was originally manufactured for outdoor use. (iStock)

This may include upholstered chairs, upholstered couches and mattresses in the front, side or backyard.

If the furniture is temporarily placed in an outside location in the hope of selling it at a yard sale, however, that’s apparently a different story, according to Colorado’s “General Offenses” under Title 5, Chapter 4, 5-4-16.

Connecticut: Keep ‘Silly String’ Away from Minors

In the city of Meriden, Connecticut, no person shall sell or offer silly string “or like products” to a minor unless that minor is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, Chapter 175, 175-2 states.

woman with silly string

Forget about selling “silly string” or similar products to a minor in the city of Meriden, Connecticut. (iStock)

If placed for sale, these products must be in a locked case or behind a store counter.

It’s also reportedly illegal to use “silly string” or like products on Halloween in Hollywood, California (Los Angeles, Article 6, Public Hazards SEC. 56.02.).

Delaware: Whispering Prohibited in Places of Worship

Under Rehoboth Beach, Delaware’s Article IV Offenses Against Public Peace and Safety 198-23, no person may disrupt religious worship “by noise, talking or whispering, or by rude or indecent behavior, or by profane language within their place of worship, or within 300 feet of the place of worship,” the law states.

Empty Church Pews

Be sure not to whisper to your neighbor or disturb the Sunday service in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware — it’s against the law. (iStock)

These rules also exist in reference to the disturbance of any lawful assembly and/or gathering of people in a public place.

Florida: Hands Off Alligators

Under Florida Code Title XXVIII Chapter 372 under “Wildlife,” the law states that no person shall “intentionally feed, or entice with feed, any wild American alligator.”

This includes American crocodiles, the code states.

Alligator on highway

A large alligator crosses a Florida highway. In the Sunshine State, the law reportedly says that people, unless licensed to do so, cannot feed alligators or crocodiles. (iStock)

People who are allowed to feed the reptiles must be licensed and or do so for “educational, scientific, commercial or recreational purposes” and only while the creatures are in protected captivity.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission personnel, for example, can feed gators.

Georgia: No Poultry on the Loose

Section 8-1 of Georgia law has rules against “domestic fowl running at large.”


Chickens, ducks, geese and other domestic fowl are not allowed to run at large through the streets of Georgia.  (iStock)

“It shall be unlawful for any person owning or controlling chickens, ducks, geese or any other domestic fowl to allow the same to run at large upon the streets or alleys of the city or to be upon the premises of any other person, without the consent of such other person,” the law states.

Hawaii: You can’t post a billboard except in special cases

The Aloha State forbids outdoor advertising unless under special circumstances (Vol10, Chapter 0436-0474, 445-112).

For example, Hawaii officials apparently will allow billboards only on the property that is actually selling the item or service that’s being advertised.

Hawaii Fox News graphic

Hawaii officials apparently will allow billboards only on a property that is actually selling an item or service that’s being advertised.

Idaho: You can’t carry a red or white cane unless you’re fully or partially blind

Idaho’s Title 18 in Crime and Punishments, in Chapter 58 under Public Health and Safety, states that no persons unless completely blind or partially blind may use a red or white cane.


Unless you are fully or partially blind, you may not carry a cane of certain colors in Idaho. (iStock)

Only people who are blind may carry a cane in this color, according to the law.

In addition, no person who isn’t blind or partially blind is allowed to carry a cane that’s white tipped with red.

Illinois: You cannot dye a baby chick

It is against the law in the Prairie State to sell, offer to sell, trade or display “living baby chicks, ducklings, goslings, or other fowl or rabbits which have been dyed, colored or otherwise treated so as to impart to them an artificial color,” according to Chapter 7-12, Animal care and control.


It’s against the law in Illinois to dye a baby chick, among other animals. (iStock)

The law also states that the animals should not be given away as prizes.

Indiana: Don’t even think about catching a fish with your bare hands

Fishing is allowed in the Hoosier State — but Indiana prohibits people from taking fish from the water using “the hands alone.”

fishing with lure

You’re welcome to fish in Indiana — just don’t think about pulling a fish out of the water with nothing but your bare hands.  (iStock)

Title 14, Article 22 under Chapter 9 also states that a net, dynamite or explosives may not be used, among other methods.

Iowa: Don’t pass off fake butter as real butter

In reference to imitation butter under Title V, Chapter 192, section 143, the product can only be sold under the name of “oleomargarine.”

Butter board

“Imitation butter shall be sold only under the name of oleomargarine, and no person shall use in any way, in connection or association with the sale or exposure for sale or advertisement of any such product, the word butter, creamery, or dairy, or the name or representation of any breed of dairy cattle,” according to Iowa law, in part.  (iStock)

Imitation butter also cannot be advertised under the words butter, creamery or dairy — among other terms.

Kansas: Don’t use playgrounds if you’re over age 14

In Wichita, Kansas, no person over the age of 14 — with some exceptions — may use playgrounds that are designed for children, “which deprives or prevents the use of such equipment by children” (Sec. 9.03.430).

Playground age use restrictions

If you are age 14 or over, you may not play on a playground in Kansas. Parents and caregivers are excluded from this rule, according to Kansas law. (iStock)

This law does not apply to parents and guardians who are participating with their children, by the way.

Kentucky: Do not use reptiles in religious services

In Kentucky, under Chapter 208, Section 1, it’s against the law for a person to “display, handle or use” any breed of reptile in connection with religious services.

green Iguana

“Any person who displays, handles or uses any kind of reptile in connection with any religious service or gathering shall be fined not less than fifty dollars ($50) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100),” Kansas law states. (iStock)

This law, according to Kentucky Revised Statutes, has been in effect since 1942 — and those who break is will be fined anywhere from $50 to $100.

Louisiana: You may not have reptiles at or near Mardi Gras

Leave your snake at home. Section 34-21 of the New Orleans Code of Ordinances states that no reptiles are allowed within 200 yards of a Mardi Gras parade and not less than two hours before the published start time of a parade.


A bull snake is seen slithering in the grass. No reptiles are reportedly allowed at Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (iStock)

The animals also must not be within 200 yards of the end of a parade “for not less than one hour after the actual end of the parade,” the law says.

Maine: You can’t gamble at the airport

In Biddeford, Maine, under Section 14-2, it’s illegal to engage in gambling at the airport.

Closeup view of a person holding playing cards

There is no gambling permitted at Biddeford Municipal Airport in York County, Maine. (iStock)

It’s also against the law to be intoxicated “or commit any act constituting a nuisance on the airport.”

Maryland: Forget about ‘stench bombs’

In Baltimore, Maryland, it’s illegal to manufacture, sell or trade a “stench bomb,” which is defined as “any liquid, gaseous or solid substance or matter of any kind which is intended to be thrown, dropped, poured, deposited, or discharged for the purpose of producing a noxious, nauseating, sickening, irritating or offensive odor.”

pinching nose

“Stench bombs” are not permitted in Baltimore, Maryland. (iStock)

Anyone who violates this law is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be subjected to a fine, according to Article 19, 59-32.

Massachusetts: Be careful how you play the national anthem

In Massachusetts, whoever sings or plays “The Star-Spangled Banner” on an instrument in any public space “other than as a whole and separate composition or number” will be fined.

There are other stipulations to this rule as well (Section 264:9).

American Flag

Massachusetts law says people must follow certain rules when playing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  (iStock)

The fine must not be more $100.

Michigan: There’s no drunkenness on trains

Michigan law, Act 68 of 1913 (436.201, Section 1), states that no person shall ride any railway train if inebriated.

Drunkeness on trains

If you are under the influence of alcohol, Michigan law says you must stay off the trains. (iStock)

Minnesota: You can’t be charged with drunkenness

In Minnesota, it is noted in Section 340A.902 that no person “may be charged with or convicted of the offense of drunkenness or public drunkenness.”

man at bar

In Minnesota, no person can be charged for being drunk or for “public drunkenness.” (iStock)

Mississippi: Don’t use profanity

If you swear in Mississippi, you can be fined up to $100.

angry women

In the Magnolia State, you’re better off not cursing — or you can be fined. (iStock)

This law, in Title 97, Chapter 29, also includes public drunkenness.

Missouri: You can’t sell cars on Sundays

Just as in New Jersey and apparently in some other U.S. states, it is illegal to sell a vehicle on Sunday, according to Missouri’s code 578.120.

cars for sale

Used cars for sale are displayed on a lot. But in the state of Michigan (and a few other states), you can’t sell cars on Sundays. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The law states that “no dealer, distributor or manufacturer” who isn’t licensed “may keep open, operate, or assist in keeping open or operating any established place of business for the purpose of buying, selling, bartering or exchanging, or offering for sale, any motor vehicle, whether new or used, on Sunday.”


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