Officials warning sex offenders this Halloween

October 29, 2010 9:11:03 PM PDT
It's the one night of the year kids are encouraged to take candy from strangers, but some adults are forbidden from passing out treats on Halloween.In many communities, like Cumberland County, sex offenders are being ordered to have nothing to do with trick-or-treating.

It's called "Operation Lights Out." It requires any sex offender on probation or parole to lock themselves inside their homes on Halloween night.

Authorities say it is not a law, but a court order offenders better not violate.

"Sex offenders have been told in person and in writing they are to be in their house at 6 p.m. no lights on," probation officer Sharon Phillips said. "They are not to participate in any way. If they do we will proceeds with a probation violation to court."

The ban includes no Halloween decorations or displays, porch lights must be turned off and doors must be locked.

Parent Summer Williams says she only takes her children to homes she knows.

"I have a lot of friends that live in military subdivisions, I like to go where you know folks," she said.

Phillips says probation officers and sheriff's deputies will be going door to door Saturday night checking to make sure the 96 convicted sex offenders in Cumberland County comply. Numerous communities across the state and country have similar restrictions.

A lot of parents say they like the idea, saying it takes some of the fright out of Halloween.

"What we like to do is obviously stick to houses that you know, but also ones you don't know we like to go where they are really decorated and it looks like people are really getting into the Halloween spirit," parent Robert Coccaro said.

This year some communities are observing Halloween on Saturday night, while others on Sunday night. But authorities are telling sex offenders to stay behind locked doors on both nights.

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