Halloween is a universally loved holiday because it’s the one special night where kids — and adults — are allowed to be kids. The quickest way to suck the fun out of this magical night is with fearmongering and hysteria. But there is a line where parents need to be educated and understand the sex offender laws in their state.
The reason that sex offenders are such a big concern on Halloween is because it’s a door-to-door holiday. There have been lively neighborhood wars and debates about whether or not registered sex offenders should be allowed to put up Halloween yard displays. Sure, sex offenders are allowed to celebrate holidays, just like everyone else. But Halloween is set apart from other holidays that warrant yard decor because it attracts kids to knock on strangers’ doors for candy.
I am normally not an alarmist parent. I don’t buy into the whole poison candy, razor blade in the apple rumor that has been running rampant since I was a kid. I’m probably never going to take my kids’ candy to a local hospital to have it screened before they eat it. In my humble opinion, that’s one quick way to flat-line Halloween.
But if you’re like me, you’re probably not up to date on the sex offender laws in your state, related to Halloween. I would guess that the average parent isn’t. In many states, the Halloween versus sex offender debate is a non-issue. Registered or paroled sex offenders are banned from handing out Halloween candy at their doorstep in many states, according to KLKN TV. Registered sex offenders’ porch lights must be off or a “No candy” sign must be put out.
But not all states. Parents in Nebraska are concerned because the state does not have any sex offender restrictions for Halloween trick-or-treating. In a state like Nebraska without set Halloween sex offender laws, convicted sex offenders are still required to register with local authorities. Neighborhood sex offenders can be located in a state’s online sex offender registry, with a picture, address and offenses posted for public viewing.
This is good, but not good enough. If some states have gone so far as to require sex offenders to turn off porch lights on Halloween to keep kids away, why is this not enforced in all states? Halloween is as kid friendly as a holiday gets. This is the one time of year where kids are encouraged to go door to door and interact with spooky strangers.
Until a sex offender Halloween ban passes in all 50 states, parents will have to do their own research before sending their kids out to trick-or-treat. This paranoia would be unnecessary if sex offenders weren’t allowed to hand out candy.