Many states, like Illinois and Missouri have strict laws regarding what registered sex offenders can and cannot do on certain days of the year like October 31, when high volumes of children will be running around neighborhoods due to the holiday like Halloween. Most laws prohibit Registered Sex Offenders from passing out candy or having any contact with children on Halloween.
In fact, the law in many places requires sex offenders to stay inside their home on Halloween, inside the house, with the door locked, and their porch light turned off. In most neighborhoods and communities if a homeowner turns off the porch light, it is an indication to all the little ghosts, ghastly ghouls, and flying witches scurrying through the darkness that this house is not participating in any Halloween activities this year.
Parents should remember that these laws are only set up to work in the situation of a convicted and registered sex offenders. There are unknown amount of offenders that either refuse to register or move and simply forget to register. In addition, many sex offenders are never caught or convicted in the first place.
If a sex offender has his or her porch light on and appears to be passing out candy, the parent should contact local authorities with the address. Authorities will be making door-to-door visits on Halloween checking individually on sex offenders, making sure the offender is actually home, and that the offender is not passing out candy or having any contact with children.
Parents can check local sheriff department websites and the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry. Two other free programs to help monitor sex offenders in local communities are Family Watchdog and
Many people will print out a map or list of the sex offender homes and addresses in their immediate neighborhood. Also, be sure to educate any older children who walk to school or to a bus stop about local sex offender homes. Being educated and prepared in a situation is often the best policy. Help your child understand that if there is an emergency he or she should try to go to any other home in the area first before knocking on a sex offender’s door.
Finally, be sure to go over the rules of Halloween safety before children leave to go out for trick or treating.
Travel in groups, or with a grown-up, there is safety in numbers.
Do not eat any candy until inspected for tampering by a parent.
If unsure of the quality or safety of an item, throw it out.
Walk in well-lit areas, with a flashlight so you are visible to drivers.
Be careful around candles most costumes are flammable.
Never go into anyone’s home without first getting parent’s permission.
Remember adults should never ask kids for help, only other adults.
I pray for angels above each child, angels below each child, and angels all around our children on Halloween so each child comes home safely.