Ghosts, goblins and...sex offenders? It may not surprise you to learn that many parents across Wisconsin become anxious at Halloween, not knowing if their child's next "Trick or Treat" will come after knocking on the door of a registered sex offender.
It might surprise you to learn that individuals listed on the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry may agree that October 31st can, indeed, be the scariest night of the year due to both increased restrictions and increased scrutiny of law enforcement on Halloween.
This article covers the rules registered sex offenders must follow on Halloween in Wisconsin. While serving as an important guideline to those listed on the Registry, this information can also serve as a resource for parents.
If you're looking to learn more about Halloween restrictions for sex offenders across the state before sending your kids out to collect candy, this article should answer questions you might have and help you feel more confident about how to protect kids while Trick-or-Treating in Wisconsin.
To learn more about the requirements for offenders, read the article, "Sex Offender Registration in Wisconsin: Know the Basics" by Stangl Law.
Halloween: Treat or Nightmare?
No one loves Halloween more than children. Costumes, candy and fun––it's the stuff of dreams.
But for concerned parents and registered sex offenders, Halloween may seem more like a nightmare. Parents worry about individuals posing a threat to their children's safety, while registered sex offenders worry about respecting their legal boundaries under increased scrutity by law enforcement.
One key to overcoming your fears about Halloween is to dispell any myths or misunderstandings by simply getting familiar with Wisconsin's legal requirements for sex offenders on Halloween.
Wisconsin's Guidelines for Sex Offenders on Halloween
Each state has different rules registered sex offenders must follow and some lay out specific restrictions for Halloween in particular.
With public safety as its core mission, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections has established the following Halloween guidelines for sex offenders to follow:
- SEX OFFENDERS MUST STAY HOME. For one hour prior and one hour following designated Halloween activities including trick-or-treat times, sex offenders must remain inside their residence.
- SEX OFFENDERS MUST NOT DISPLAY DECORATIONS. Sex offenders are not allowed to decorate their place of residency with Halloween decorations, outside or inside.
- SEX OFFENDERS MUST KEEP PORCH LIGHTS OFF. Sex offenders in Wisconsin are not allowed to light up their homes or show any other indication of Halloween participation.
- SEX OFFENDERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE OUT CANDY. In Wisconsin, distributing candy or other treats from the home or residence of a sex offender is not allowed.
- SEX OFFENDERS MAY NOT WEAR OR POSSESS COSTUMES. Sex offenders in Wisconsin are not allowed to wear or even possess costumes or parts of costumes.
- SEX OFFENDERS ARE NOT ALLOWED AT HALLOWEEN VENUES OR EVENTS .Whether it's a haunted house, Halloween parade or other Halloween-themed event where children may be present, sex offenders are not allowed to attend.
Sex offenders found in violation of these rules risk penalties, including arrest.
Sex Offenders: Know Your City's Official Day and Time for Trick-or-Treating
Although it may seem odd, the Wisconsin city or town you live in may not officially celebrate Halloween on October 31st. If you are a known sex offender, it is imperative you find out if and when your community is officially scheduling Halloween activities like trick-or-treating so that you can remain compliant.
If you are facing charges of a sexual offense in Wisconsin, you will find important information in the article, "How to Handle a Sexual Assault Charge in Wisconsin" by Stangl Law.
What to do if you Believe a Sex Offender is in Violation of Halloween Restrictions
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections issued the following message on the DOC website on October 24, 2016, encouraging the public to report any sex offenders they believe are in violation of Halloween restrictions:Halloween Message:
Registered sex offenders under Active Community Supervision by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections are prohibited from participating in Halloween activities. If you believe a registered sex offender, who is under Active Community Supervision according to this Web site, is participating in Halloween activities you can report the information to the SAFE tip phone hotline at 1-877-234-0085 which is answered Monday through Friday between 7:45 AM and 4:30 PM. Registered sex offenders having Terminated status are not on state supervision and are therefore not subject to the restriction.
For tips on how to help keep your children and yourself safe during the Halloween season and all year long, please see our "Staying Safe" brochure found on the Web site. If there is immediate danger to a child, yourself or others, you should call 911.