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.