Boston, MA

10 Weird Laws in Boston

Genius Turner
Not only is Boston "Beantown" but it's also a town with some of the weirdest laws.(Emmanuel Huybrechts/Wikimedia Commons)

Boston, MA — Like many, I enjoy visiting the city responsible for not only the top colleges (Harvard, MIT) but also the best sports teams. Before visiting any new city, however, I usually familiarize myself with its basic laws.

In Boston, it's illegal to cross the Boston Common without carrying a shotgun (in case bears attack). This law left me scratching my head while wondering: Since I'm anti-guns and all, perhaps I'll have to ride "shotgun" while my buddy drives us to cross the Boston Common.

In short, because the word weird is synonymous with "uncommon," here are ten weird laws in Boston.

1. It's against the law to kiss in front of a church.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

A security guard catches a couple kissing in front of a church. He blows a whistle and warns them "that's illegal behavior."

The lady shakes her head. "Nope!" she says. "I gave him a prolonged peck on the lips, not a kiss."

2. It's illegal to take a bath without a prescription.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

Mikey, a 9-year-old, hates bathing. During dinner, his mother catches a whiff of his armpits.

"Mikey," his mother yells, "go take a bath!"

Mikey shakes his head. "Sorry mom, but I refuse to be involved in your criminal activities."

3. Snoring is illegal unless all bedroom windows are closed and securely locked.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

Due to a man's loud snoring, his next-door neighbor bangs on the wall.

"Pal," the neighbor shouts while banging the wall, "either stop snoring or I'll report you for not having those windows securely sealed and locked."
This gutsy guy — openly breaking the sleeping law — must be the "Al Capone of Sleepers."(CGP Grey/Wikimedia Commons)

4. It's illegal to eat peanuts in church.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

An usher spots a guy eating peanuts during the service. He wags a finger at the lawbreaker.

"Is it wrong to eat peanuts during service?" the guy asks.

"Nope!" the usher says. "Munching on peanuts in church may not be sinful but it sure is unlawful."

5. It's illegal to ride with a gorilla in the backseat of your car.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

A driver spots flashing police lights in the rearview. Before the officer makes it to the vehicle, the guy cleverly yanks his gorilla to the front seat.

Problem solved.

The End.

6. It's illegal to cut firewood in the street.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

An agent from the Homeowners Association rings a doorbell. A groggy guy opens.

"Sir," the agent warns, "cutting firewood in the street is against the law."

The guy yawns. "Fine. Next time I'll cut firewood on the sidewalk."

7. For hundreds of years, Christmas has been banned in Boston.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

On Christmas morning, Ebeneezer Scrooge's girlfriend asks for her gift.

Scrooge shakes his head. "Sorry, babe. That's illegal behavior. So just pretend I gotcha a fancy diamond ring or something."
Scrooge loves spending Xmas in Boston.(Elizabeth/Flickr)

8. Inside city limits, it's against the law to swear.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

"Hey Chuckie," a guy says, "thought you were catching the game downtown today?"

Chuckie shakes his head. "Nope! Too risky watching the Brady-less Pats games at bars nowadays. Who knows what'll fly outta my mouth."

9. It's illegal to play the fiddle.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

A boss storms into the office. He uses his hand for a whistle. "Announcement, everyone!"

All eyes fall on him.

"From now on," the boss says, "wasting hours to fiddle with surfing the internet while you should be working is punishable by jail time."

10. It's illegal to take a lion to the movies.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

The instant a lady realizes the "surprise movie" for the dinner date is The Lion King, she storms out of the movie theater.

Her confused date FaceTime's her.

She answers and says: "Hey, we're through! Don't you know they had to take a lion to the movie set to shoot that film?"

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