What if Jews celebrated Halloween? That was the question of a viral Jewbellish image. In that spirit our guest writer has put together a hypothetical code of Jewish law for Halloween.
Add your own laws in the comments below.
by Binyomin Ginzberg
1) No trick or treating until sundown. This year not before 5:54PM in the NY area. Children may trick or treat earlier for Chinuch (educational purposes), but it’s preferable if they wait until the zman.
2) A scary costume is preferable, but b’dieved (2nd choice), one dressed as a princess or a Minion has fulfilled the obligation of dressing up.
3) One who turns off the lights and pretends to be away is called a sinner!
4) Shaving cream used for tricks does not require kosher supervision.
5) If Halloween falls out on Shabbat (like this year), trick or treating within the eruv (a string around the city allowing Jews to carry outdoors on Shabbat) is permissible. If there is no eruv, one still trick or treats, but the custom is to cut a hole in bottom of the plastic jack o’ lantern so the candy goes to waste.
6) To be considered a trick, one must damage property valued at at least one perutah (approx. 5 cents). A trick must also inconvenience the victim by at least 6.7 minutes. In case of emergency, there is a lenient position of 4.8 minutes one may be allowed to rely on. Consult your Halachik authority (your Rabbi).
7) The pumpkin should be placed on the top step, to the right of the door.
It is preferable to use a real pumpkin as a jack o’ lantern. B’dieved (2nd choice), plastic is also acceptable.
9) One does not make a blessing before trick or treating, because it is not certain that the homeowner will be home. (And one may not utter Gd’s name in vain.)
10) When giving candy, one must give an amount at least the size of an olive (about five candy corns.) Some are of the opinion that it has to be at least the size of an egg (twelve candy corns.) This opinion is preferable.
11) When egging cars, one should be careful not to drop any eggs prior to throwing them. Remember, Ba’al Tashchis (the sin of wasting)!
12) Not Tznius (immodest) witch costumes, only at home with one’s husband.