SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Halloween is the day of trick-or-treating, and this year, local law enforcement is doing its best to make sure the night will be full of treats, and no tricks. Certain sex offenders are required to follow a “Halloween law.”
Parents are aiming for supervised spooky, not surprise scary. Just ask this mom of two young children, Marisa DeClue.
“Finding the balance between protective and over-protective is a fine, fine line,” DeClue said. “And sometimes my husband and I kind of keep each other in check.”
The balance between treats and tricks can also be hard.
“The candy’s a big deal. They have to limit themselves,” DeClue said.
Her daughter Marin DeClue said, “It’s really hard though.”
That’s why the Greene County Sheriff’s Office wants to make sure the sweets are coming from a safe home. Of the 783 registered sex offenders in Greene County, 212 must comply with the law, meaning they must turn out exterior lights between 5:00 and 10:30 p.m., and post a sign saying there’s no candy.
“It’s just the children’s safety,” Cpl. James Craigmyle, public relations coordinator for Greene County said.
The gap accounts for offenders registered before August 8, 2008. The law doesn’t apply to them or juvenile offenders. In Arkansas, there’s no such law at all. The Boone County Sheriff’s Office there checks on its sex offenders before the holiday, giving them “no candy” flyers to put on their doors.
“There isn’t a law that allows us to tell them they just can’t do that,” Chief Deputy Tim Roberson, with the Boone County Sheriff’s Office said. “But we try to convince them to not.”
While DeClue appreciates Springfield police and county deputies enforcing the “Halloween law” Tuesday, something like that is a job for mom, who checks the sex offender map regularly.
“Somebody may have their light on, but we know where you live and we’re not coming to your house,” DeClue said.
She’s making sure the only clowning around will come from her kids.
The sheriff’s office says anyone with information about a violation Halloween night should call 911. Parents can also find more information about the sex offender registry, and the map, here.