Sex Offenders and Halloween

sad pumpkinThere’ll be no Halloween this year…well at least not for many sex offenders in TN.

I was pleased to read in the Commercial Appeal  that the State of  TN has put  some very strict regulations in place for sex offenders concerning the Halloween holiday. The regulations apply to those offenders who are under the supervision of the State Board of Probation and Parole.  These restrictions include the following things that sex offenders are not allowed to do for the Halloween holiday:

–They cannot take any child, including their own, trick-or-treating.

–Neither they, nor anyone in their home, can answer the door to trick-or-treaters, or give out candy or treats.

–Their homes cannot be decorated for Halloween, either inside or outside.

–They cannot host Halloween parties at their homes and cannot wear costumes.

–They cannot go to haunted houses, corn mazes, hay rides or any other seasonal activity.

–They cannot be at any function where children are gathered, including private residences.

For the most part the list seems pretty fair. But, not being allowed to hang Halloween decorations outside OR inside their homes seems pretty far-fetched and ridiculous. The rest of the list is understandable. If you have been convicted of a sex crime, especially one involving a child, you shouldn’t be in any location or situation where you may be tempted again. (but wouldn’t every holiday OR every day possibly include something “tempting”)

I can truly understand the State’s position on setting these restrictions. I understand that the goal of these restrictions is to protect the public, especially the children from sex offenders. But not allowing them to participate in any kind of Halloween activities with their own children doesn’t seem sensible. If so how safe are their children living in the same residences with them? How safe are the neighbor’s children or the children they see at the grocery store or even at church? And if the state is going to set limitations for Halloween, what will be next, harvest festivals and Christmas caroling?  Will they also stop them from going to places such as amusement parks? Kids love to go there too!

    • Black Girl Thinking
    • November 14th, 2009

    Check out this post and feel free to comment

  1. In the entire history of this world, there has been only one case of where a child was sexually abused and killed on Halloween, and that was in 1973 by Gerald Turner. If you can find any others, then I’d love to hear about them.

    Would you rather believe the facts, or myths and lies based on fear?

    See the YouTube videos below:

    And visit my blog for more hysteria:

      • letsgetreal50
      • October 31st, 2009

      Yes, but Gerald Turner had no priors and was known to the family. The little girl went to his house ALONE. This is where parenting comes in.

  2. The Halloween restrictions are overly broad. The restrictions do little or nothing to protect children during the Halloween festivities. Although the measures are popular and considered well intentioned by the public the truthful result is that the restrictions equate to little more than a publicity stunt, initiated by the politicians and law enforcement and fueled by sensationalized media, and present a false sense of security to parents against a non existent threat.
    Some of the facts to consider are:
    1.There has never been a case on record of a child being molested by a registered sex offender while trick or treating.
    2. It would be next to impossible for a child to be molested at the front door of a home, while dressed in costume, accompanied by other children, and hopefully, supervised by parents.
    3. Many of the registered offenders are not on the registry because of a sexual molestation charge against children. Many registrants have been categorized as sexual offenders for charges of urinating in public, mooning someone, sunbathing nude,skinny dipping, having consentual sex while teenagers, sexting, …..the list goes on and on. In reality, there are probably not many people across our state and nation that would not qualify as a sex offender under todays legal interpretations.
    4. The majority of sexual offenses against children occur in the home and are perpetrated by family members, relatives, and friends. The threat of “stranger danger” is minimal.
    5. Contrary to popular belief, the recidivism (reoffense) rate of sex offenders is 3%-5%. This equates to the lowest reoffense rate of all crimes except for murder.
    6. More children will be harmed or killed by darting out in front of cars while crossing the street or by igniting the flammable costumes being worn than by any other means. It makes me wonder, if the true intention of the laws were to protect the children, then why aren’t flammable costumes illegal to sell within our state and why aren’t convicted drunk drivers currently on probation / parole required to remain home on halloween night.

    My other concern is that these laws not only effect the registrants but also penalize the spouses and children of the registrants. Probation and Parole is meant to be an opportunity for offenders to reintegrate into society and once again establish themselves as productive members of society while being given the opportunity to put their past behind them. The law does not allow a registered sex offender to ever once again become a vital part of his or her community. These laws generally translate into the blatant fact that each year there is a possibility of having to endure addition punishments and humiliation, at the hands of the legislators, in addition to or after the original sentence has been imposed. The truth also remains that the stigma of being listed on the registry lasts far longer than the probation period. Most registrants have to remain on the registry for twenty five years to life without the possibility of ever being removed. The Halloween restrictions are just the tip of the iceburg.The general public has been blinded to the injustices of the registry and the continued hardships that the laws bring upon the families of the registrants.

    Our group, TN Voices of Reason, is still in the grassroots stages. Our efforts to lobby the state legislators has for the most part fallen on deaf ears. We are devoting our efforts at this time to educate the public to the facts relating to the registry and the detrimental effects these laws are having on our society as a whole. We feel our mission has to be two fold. First, we need to make the citizens aware that the registry laws are doing little to make our children and communities safer. The original purpose of the registry was to protect the public against the small group of predatory criminals who sought out, tortured, molested, and killed their victims. Unfortunately, the registry has turned into a means to advance the careers of politicians and give society a false illusion that the public are being protected while ruining the lives of many good people, along with their families, who made a past mistake or who in quite a few cases, were falsely accused. Most registrants want nothing more than to live productive, peaceful lives and overcome their past mistakes.
    Our second, and equally important purpose, is to change the outlook of our politicians and public from an ever increasing punitive vision to one of prevention. All of the money wasted on maintaining the registry and overseeing the registrants would be better used to promote educational programs for the prevention of abuse before it occurs, the study and treatment of offenders to discover new effective means for offenders to overcome their addictions, a transition of our prison system from one of total punishment to one of treatment geared toward successful integration back into society upon release, and initiation of programs which stress the importance of parents taking an active role in their children’s lives.

  3. Sex Offenders Not a Halloween Scare

    GREAT Report

    • Black Girl Thinking
    • October 30th, 2009

    Thanks for stopping by and for commenting Letsgetreal and extra thanks for the links!

  4. Beware the Halloween bogeyman! by: Karen Franklin, Ph.D.

    We are manufacturing sex offenders by including people who are no threat to anyone and who have harmed no one. We’ve sparked undue paranoia and made it more difficult to identify the real sex offenders, the ones people should actually be concerned with.

  5. I found your site on Google and read a few of your other entires. Nice Stuff. I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

    • is a site dedicated to educating the public. We have a few thousand articles and many “evidence based research” studys:

      Glad you like it. We will reach one half million visitors next month. Not bad for being up for 10 months. We are growing as THE source for sex offender issues. Politicians and government agency’s from federal to local and state find cfcoklahoma a great source for truthful information.

      In the “News Fourm.” you will find all 50 states listed, with information specifically to that state.

      Thanks for your comment

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