Area police urge the public, especially parents, to take heed of a new state law that requires sex offenders to avoid all Halloween-related activity with children on Friday night.

Area police urge the public, especially parents, to take heed of a new state law that requires sex offenders to avoid all Halloween-related activity with children on Friday night.

Specifically, if parents see a hot-pink sign posted at or near the door of a residence that says “no candy or treats at this residence,” it means a registered offender lives there.

In June, Gov. Matt Blunt signed the law that requires offenders to avoid contact with children during the hours of 5 to 10:30 p.m. on Halloween. It requires them to remain inside their homes, have the outside lights shut off and have posted the sign at or near their front door.

“That should be the deterrent a parent needs to know not to go to that residence,” Independence Police Sgt. Chris Garcia said. “This just one of those things to kind of alert parents that somebody is a registered sex offender and is not supposed to be having contact with children.”

Police have obtained lists of addresses of where registered sex offenders live. They got the lists from probation and parole officers.

A federal judge recently ruled that parts of the law are too vague. U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson granted a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of some parts of the law.

Jackson did not have an issue with the sign or porch light shut off. But, according to an Associated Press article,  may a sex offender have contact with his or her own children on Halloween? Passing out candy is prohibited, but what else constitutes Halloween-related contact? What if the offender is out-of-town on Friday night?

Officers are not specifically going to addresses where offenders live and enforcing the new law, Garcia said. Rather, probation or parole officers should be spot-checking the offender’s residence to ensure compliance.

Police will not arrest offenders they find who are violating the law. They can’t arrest the violators at their residence without a warrant, Garcia said.

However, police will let the probation or parole office know about the violation, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. 

Offenders have been notified of the new law by their probation officers, who gave them the sign, a hot-pink 8 1/2 inch by 11-inch size sheet of paper.