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Registered sex offenders must follow special Halloween rules

The day is upon us: It is Halloween. For most, that means they have a bowl of candy ready to dish out to children who ring their doorbells this evening. It's a night of fun, remembering the fun of childhood vicariously through the costumed children.

For those who are registered sex offenders in some areas, however, this night of fun comes with stipulations. A report about an out-of-state decision regarding sex offenders and Halloween rules is notable enough to share on this New Jersey criminal defense blog. It highlights how life changes for those convicted of sex crimes and forced to register as sexual offenders.

In Simi Valley, California, registered sex offenders are not allowed to participate in the normal Halloween fun that others enjoy. The simple acts of decorating one's yard and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters are beyond their reach this year.

A new city rule says that registered sex offenders cannot use outdoor Halloween decorations and they must avoid opening their doors to kids. Essentially, the rule suggests that the décor would attract kids to a home that is potentially dangerous for them to visit.

Several registered parties and their families fought against the proposed Halloween rules and got one win out of the battle. They don't have to put signs in front of their homes that say "no candy." The plaintiffs argued that having to do that would put all people in their homes in danger of violence.

More than just about any other label, the label of sex offender has a destructive effect on a person's reputation and freedoms. The public doesn't easily understand the different types of offenses that require a person to register as an offender; nor do they understand that past offenders have the right to try to move on with their lives after serving their time.

Source: CNN, "California judge's ruling a partial victory for registered child sex offenders," Michael Cary, Oct. 29, 2012