Communities across the country will celebrate Halloween Thursday. With Halloween, millions of children will likely walk the streets with friends and family, going door-to-door collecting candy for trick-or-treating. This yearly tradition has been going on for decades in the United States.
During Halloween, many communities put increased restrictions on people that they deem as sexual offenders. They tell these people that they cannot answer their door or hand out candy to children. A recent article on The Huffington Post points out how these restrictions have grown out of unfounded fear and how the label of sexual offender extends a person's sentence for years after they are convicted.
Many sociologists say that these fears around Halloween, of children being taken or mistreated, or candy being poisoned, have no evidence of actual occurrence. There is not increase in the number of missing children on Halloween or abuse reported. There are virtually no reports of children ever being harmed through candy or apples by strangers.
This culture of fear only helps to exclude people who have possibly made mistakes and hope to reintegrate into their community. Even government agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have spoken about Halloween safety, telling parents to only let children eat pre-packaged candy.
Sexual offender labels can also sometimes include scenarios such as public urination and streaking, which likely do not pose harm to children on Halloween. Those convicted of New Jersey sex crimes should understand their rights, and the laws in their community. If they feel their rights have been violated, they might be wise to speak with a criminal defense attorney.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Manufacturing Fear: Halloween Laws for Sex Offenders," Emily Horowitz, Oct. 21, 2013