Could You Be Fined for Hanging Illuminated Halloween Décor?

Potentially, yes. If you live in certain areas of New York City, you may be fined if you hang illuminated Halloween signs on your property that are higher than 40 feet above curb level. This is based on a ruling last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed a decision from Judge Jed Rakoff in the Southern District of New York – namely that a Manhattan resident’s first amendment rights were not violated when she was fined $800 for not abiding by New York City’s zoning regulations.

Political and holiday signs are typically temporary, so usually the City will look the other way – unless you live in a neighborhood of one- and two-family homes. This woman hung an illuminated peace sign in her apartment window at the Ansonia, on Broadway between 73rd and 74th Streets.  While I am not sure why the Department of Buildings singled out this apartment –  it could have been the year and a half that she had hung her peace sign – I don’t think the DOB would pursue residents who hang holiday décor for a short period of time.