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Beware: Fake Weapons & Halloween Costumes

How to Avoid a Spooky Encounter with the Cops

Halloween is a time for people to wear costumes, decorate, eat candy and party. Although some traditions may change this year due to COVID-19, many people will not waste the opportunity to celebrate this beloved holiday by dressing up, at the very least.

On that note, it’s important to be mindful of the risks associated with certain costumes. You may want to think twice about accessorizing your costume with a fake weapon, as the public — and law enforcement — may be unable to tell if it’s real or not. As gun violence continues to be a hot topic in the United States, it should come as no surprise that the public is already concerned about their safety.

As a result, police officers receive many reports around Halloween concerning threatening costumes and fake weapons, and warn against displaying and brandishing such props. Be aware that many people will not be able to differentiate between a fake weapon and real one, so it is wise to exercise caution when choosing your costumes and accessories.

Our Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyers do not want you to get arrested for a crime you didn’t commit, or worse, harmed by the police because they perceived you as a threat. Therefore, it may benefit you to consider some tips when using a fake weapon for your Halloween costume.

  • Ensure the barrel of your fake weapon is painted with a bright color
    • Do not paint it black or alter the “nose” with a dark color
  • Do not point or wave your fake weapon at others
  • Do not jokingly use your fake weapon, such as a sword, nunchucks or a knife, against others
  • If you are wearing your costume in public, such as at the supermarket, mall or gas station, try to leave your fake weapon at home
  • Avoid accessorizing your costume with a fake weapon overall for the best chances of avoiding an encounter with the police

Choose Your Halloween Costume Wisely

We understand that a costume is just that: A costume. It’s dress-up. However, you do not want to put your and others’ safety at risk because of your fake weapon. The police will treat your weapon as if it were real rather than assuming it’s simply part of your costume. As such, we encourage you to have a fun and safe Halloween this year by considering our advice above.

Contact us at (805) 467-6060 if you have any questions regarding the information above or your criminal case. Our team at Appel & Morse has your best interests at heart!