No Singing in the Bathtub? A Look at Pennsylvania’s Weirdest Laws

FILE - Cars for sale line the road at a used auto dealership in Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. The Federal Reserve’s expected move Wednesday, July 26, 2023, to raise interest rates for the 11th time could once again send ripple effects across the economy. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, FILE)

By Ashley Adams

August 21, 2023

From purchasing vehicles on Sundays to whistling on the streets in certain towns, Pennsylvania has some weird, obscure laws still on the books.

While every state has some laws that residents feel are useless or just plain silly, here in Pennsylvania, we have some very random and obscure regulations that leave us wondering why they were instituted in the first place.

It’s perfectly reasonable that discharging a cannon during a wedding is illegal in the commonwealth. However, the fact that you still can’t buy a car on a Sunday here is pretty ridiculous.

Are the authorities particularly vigilant about enforcing these laws? Go yell on the streets of Danville between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. and find out. But just so you’re clear on what you can and can’t get away with in Pennsylvania, what follows is a list of some arcane state laws that you might think are fake, but are actually legitimate:

A child’s bedroom may not be more than 200 feet from a bathroom

According to a law in the Pennsylvania Code a child’s bedroom may not be more than 200 feet from a bathtub or shower and a toilet. Maybe it was intended to cut down on accidents?

Fortune telling is illegal for personal gain

Bet you didn’t see this one coming.

Title 18 under the consolidated statutes of Pennsylvania states that “a person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree if he pretends for gain or lucre, to tell fortunes or predict future events, by cards, tokens, the inspection of the head or hands of any person, or by the age of anyone, or by consulting the movements of the heavenly bodies, or in any other manner.”

So, essentially, it is a crime to tell someone their fortune for any type of personal gain.

No Singing in the Bathtub? A Look at Pennsylvania's Weirdest Laws

Antonio Vasquez, known as Mexico’s Brujo Mayor Grand Warlock, holds up the eight of wands, left, and strength tarot cards as he speaks to members of the press during a news conference to announce his annual predictions, in Mexico City, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

No purchasing of vehicles on Sundays

You better pick a day other than Sunday to buy that car you’ve had your eye on. According to a section in the state’s Board of Vehicles Act, “being engaged in the buying, selling, exchanging, trading or otherwise dealing in vehicles on Sunday in violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 7365 which relates to trading in motor vehicles and trailers.”

While a dealership doesn’t have to close on a Sunday, and buyers and sellers can discuss a potential sale, they’ll have to pick another day of the week to complete the sale.

Catching fish with your bare hands is illegal

According to the Pennsylvania Code, you can only catch fish using a line or hook. It also goes into what kind of bait you can use while catching a fish:

“It is unlawful for a person to use or possess Goldfish (Carassius auratus), Comets (Carassius auratus), Koi (Cyprinus carpio) and Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) as baitfish while fishing.”

Brook trout

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

No bartering infant children

No matter how angry your child makes you, don’t try selling them in the commonwealth. State law says that “a person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree if he deals in humanity by trading, bartering, buying, selling, or dealing in infant children.”

Bingo is for non-felons

In Bensalem, there is a law on the books that prohibits a person convicted of a felony from operating a Bingo game.

“No distributor nor any person who has been convicted of a felony…shall have a pecuniary interest in the operation or proceeds of games of chance.”

Bingo? More like, Bing-NO.

No Singing in the Bathtub? A Look at Pennsylvania's Weirdest Laws


No riding in a boat on the highway

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to ride in a boat on a trailer while it is being driven on a highway. You also can’t ride in a mobile home on a trailer while it’s being driven.

Prohibited noise on public streets

In Danville, it is illegal to yell, shout, hoot, whistle or sing between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. so as to annoy and disturb the quiet comfort or peace of persons in any office, dwelling, hotel or other type of residence, or of any persons in the vicinity.

We wonder if you can whistle while you work in the borough?

No Singing in the Bathtub? A Look at Pennsylvania's Weirdest Laws


Discharging a cannon during a wedding is prohibited

It’s against the law to discharge a gun, cannon, revolver or other explosive weapons at a public event. So much for a shotgun wedding in Pennsylvania.

No singing in the bathtub

You might want to think twice before belting out a tune while soaping up in the bathtub. It is illegal to sing in the bathtub in Pennsylvania according to the Bathroom Singing Prohibition Act passed in 1969 to force performers to expose their talent.


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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