Thrill-seekers looking for a naked haunted house will have to keep on dreaming, because Pennsylvania's "Shocktoberfest" has decided to require underwear for its somewhat controversial "Naked and Scared Challenge."
According to NBC's "Today," attendees of the haunted house in the borough of Sinking Spring will no longer be plunging into a ghastly hellscape bearing their naked nethers. The haunted house's president says he wants the business to be a "good neighbor" to affected municipalities.
So why do "Shocktoberfest" participants need undies in a frightful underworld?
Boobs and Nude Dudes Are Lewd?
Although there are a number of potential civil causes of action that could arise from having scared Halloweenies running around dangling and bobbing their private parts, there are potentially criminal issues with having a no-clothes haunted house.
For example, Pennsylvania law makes it a misdemeanor for a person to perform a lewd act "which he knows is likely to be observed by others who would be affronted or alarmed." In almost all states, acts of simulated or actual sex fit this definition, but there is a sort of hazy definition when it comes to nudity.
"Shocktoberfest" participants wouldn't exactly be lewdness victims in the same way as many flashing cases, as the event notifies everyone that nudeness is an option. But most states are squeamish about allowing male and female genitalia and breasts to be shown in public.
In neighboring New York, public indecency and lewdness enforcement has even led to one topless woman suing the NYPD, so bare breasts could be an issue for Pennsylvania women as well. In addition, naked haunted house lovers could potentially be charged under Pennsylvania's indecent exposure law, which seems to only cover uncovered genitals.
What About Refunds?
Buying a ticket for a naked haunted house in advance sounds like a sweet idea -- until that haunted house announces it will no longer be allowing nudity.
For "Naked and Scared" ticketholders feeling deflated by the news, "Today" reports that the park will offer refunds for anyone who's already purchased a $20 ticket online.
That's fairly generous compared to Disney's refund policy, which states that tickets are basically nonrefundable even during a bombing or hurricane.
- Shocktoberfest cancels nude part of its 'Naked and Scared' haunted house challenge (New York Daily News)
- Tenants Fear Rental House Is Haunted, Sue for Refund (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- Girl Accidentally Hangs Herself at Haunted House (FindLaw's Injured)
- Haunted Real Estate: Must Disclose Haunted House? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)