Sex offender danger at Halloween — truth or fiction?
On October 31, towns and cities all over the United States will enforce ordinances prohibiting registered sex offenders and their households from participating in Halloween activities. These restrictions generally require registrants to wear no costumes, remain off the streets during trick-or-treat hours, display no lights or decorations at their homes, and give out no candy.
More extreme jurisdictions will also require a sign posted at their homes alerting the public of their presence. Others may require anyone on probation or parole to gather at a special location for specific supervision on Halloween night.
All of this hysterical activity is predicated on a terribly flawed assumption—or at least the appearance of such an assumption—that people who have preyed on children in the past will naturally decide to take advantage of Halloween’s supposed opportunity to seek new victims.
But there is not a single shred of past or present evidence demonstrating that Halloween is any more or less scary on account of an increase in child predation accompanying the annual festival of ghouls and goblins.
Extensive research reveals no reports of sexual assaults of random children by registrants on Halloween—not any place or at any time going back many decades. This is also true for the states and the jurisdictions that have wisely decided not to waste money implementing and monitoring restrictions that address a non-existent problem.
“This is very clearly a solution searching desperately for a problem. Anyone serious about protecting children on Halloween will pay far more attention to the incidences of injury sustained by children being hit by cars while crossing the street. But if you’re looking for statistics to support the hysterical notion that sex offenders are abducting children, you’re going to be very disappointed,” stated Brenda Jones, Executive Director of National RSOL.
“Parents already have enough to worry about when it comes to keeping their children safe. Whipping them into a panicked frenzy about a problem that doesn’t exist while depriving hundreds of thousands of citizens their right to turn on their own porch lights is the sort of pandering these parents can do without,” Jones continued. “According to the Center for Disease Control, children are at approximately four times greater risk on Halloween for involvement in pedestrian-auto accidents. Would not money spent on increased traffic patrol and drunk-driving checkpoints be better spent and actually protect children?”