Registered sex offenders: Beware the ghost of retroactive restrictions on Halloween

Registered sex offenders: Beware the ghost of retroactive restrictions on Halloween

It’s Oct. 1, summer is now firmly behind us, and we thought it fitting to get out in front of the month with a Halloween-related post. Legal information website FindLaw has a round-up of Halloween sex offender laws (in case you’ve ever thought about that).

Now, for someone who has been accused and convicted of a sex crime and is now considered to be a “sexual predator,” there are a whole host of things that you’ve suddenly got to think about, including what you can and cannot do on Halloween.

FindLaw characterizes states’ various restrictions as “no passing out candy” and “no driving after dark.” Registered sex offenders in some states must put out a sign that says “no candy at this residence,” or the cops might come knocking. In other states, sex offenders must not wear masks or costumes, must not go out during trick-or-treat hours, and cannot go to haunted houses.

A violation of these restrictions, in some places, could mean felony charges.

Those who oppose such laws and restrictions (including the highest court in at least one state, which ruled some restrictions unconstitutional) generally cite the fact that additional restrictions on Halloween are not fair, that registered sex offenders aren’t necessarily more likely to re-offend on Halloween, and that children are not more likely to be victimized on Halloween than any other day of the year.

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