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How to Do a Quick Check for Sex Offenders Before Trick or Treating

A few options to ensure your Halloween route is safe.

Despite some lingering fears, Halloween is a safe holiday. Families are out and about. Stores stay open to distribute bowls candy. The police are on patrol. Most houses are welcoming to costume wearers. But if you’re unfamiliar with your neighborhood, it’s not a bad idea to do a bit of research to ensure your kid doesn’t accidentally go knock on the wrong door. 

Online watch group, Criminal Watch Dog, has an online register of sex offenders that you can search by name or simply street, city, and state. While a bit jarring to see who may be in your neighborhood, it’s a handy tool for checking out any problems areas that might be on your kids’ mapped-out Halloween route. If you’re already on the go, there’s also an app called “Sex Offender Search” that does the same. 

You should also be aware of your state laws. In Georgia, for example, there are very strict laws about what sex offenders can and can’t do on Halloween. They are required to be either at work or in their homes from 6 to 9 p.m. If they are in their homes, they can’t hang Halloween decorations on their lawn and their house must be completely dark. No lights, no string lights, no porch light — nothing.

Is this all a bit overly cautious? Yes. But it pays to be aware, especially on a night when kids will go knocking on doors. So if you want to be extra certain that houses are safe, understand that government tools are available to offer some piece of mind.