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Halloween hoaxes can lead to criminal charges

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It's all fun and games - until somebody gets arrested.

Halloween is a busy night for law enforcement. Teenagers and college students can easily find themselves on the wrong side of the law when what started out as a seemingly harmless prank goes too far.

You can avoid a night in jail by staying away from these potentially criminal behaviors:

  • Creepy clowns: No doubt you've heard about the spate of Stephen King-inspired clown sightings across the country. Even more concerning are students posing as clowns online and threatening violence against schools, neighborhoods and peers. Making such threats, even online and through a fake account, is a crime.
  • Toilet papering or egging: "TPing" or egging someone's house may seem like a harmless - or even time-honored - prank, but it can get you arrested if you're caught. These antics cause headaches for homeowners. In addition, they can lead to multiple charges, including vandalism, trespassing and disorderly conduct.
  • Smashing pumpkins: More than just the name of a rock band, trashing a neighbor's pumpkins is technically theft. You could also be charged with trespassing, criminal mischief and perhaps even burglary (if you had to jump over a fence or enter a porch to snatch pumpkins, for example).
  • Breaking and entering: Sometimes Halloween dares go too far, leading kids to break into abandoned buildings or "haunted" houses just for the thrill of it. You can get charged with breaking and entering even if you didn't have to pick a lock or break anything to get in.
  • Underage drinking: Halloween is the perfect occasion for a costume party. However, things can quickly spiral out of control when alcohol is involved - especially if minors are present. Steer clear of these situations.

It's perfectly fine to have fun scaring your friends, family and neighbors on Halloween - just don't break the law while doing so.

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