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'Trick No Treat' for H-F's Registered Sex Offenders

As Halloween approaches, know the rules your area's registered sex offenders are required to follow.

Edwin J. Wengelewski, 84. 940 Maple Ave #206a.
Edwin J. Wengelewski, 84. 940 Maple Ave #206a.

Patch wants to help H-F parents keep their kids safe this Halloween. As the bewitching hour nears, become familiar with regulations regarding registered sex offenders in your area.

Rules for Halloween

In July 2005, a new state law was passed barring registered sex offenders from participating in any holiday event involving children, including Halloween. This same law also prohibits sex offenders from dressing as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

During Halloween, sex offenders are not allowed to distribute candy to children; however, the law does give leeway to sex offenders who are parents or legal guardians of children under age 18 living in the home. While those sex offenders are still barred from handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, other household members can participate in Halloween activities.

To avoid violating the law, registered sex offenders often are advised by police to keep porch lights turned off to avoid attracting children on Halloween and to not answer the door. Registered sex offenders also are prohibited from leaving the house dressed in costumes.

"They can wear a costume if they are home," Master Sgt. Isiah Vega, a spokesman for the Illinois State Police told Oak Lawn Patch last year. "But if they leave the house in costume, it's considered participating in a holiday event involving children."

Registered sex offenders who break the rules may be subject to fines or revocation of their parole or probation.

Who Needs to Register?

Persons convicted of misdemeanor or felony sex crimes involving children under age 18 as well as adult victims are required to register their addresses with the local law enforcement agency in the communities where they reside once a year, under the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act. The same rules apply to out-of-state sex offenders who move to or work in Illinois, as well as out-of-state students attending a state college or university.

The Illinois State Police maintain a detailed Sex Offender Registry of all of the state's registered sex offenders that is available to the public. There, citizens can look up and find the registered sex offenders living in their own communities. Local police departments throughout the state feed information about the individual sex offenders registered in their jurisdictions to the state database.

Similar requirements for registration are also in effect for sex crimes committed against adults — especially adults with disabilities.

A sex offender must register annually in person at the local police department for the duration of the required 10-year registration period. 

In addition, registered sex offenders are prohibited from residing within 500 feet of a school, daycare center, youth center or other facility catering to children under age 18.

A Safe Halloween

Vega said parents can do their part to ensure a safe Halloween for their children by visiting the Illinois Sex Offender Registry to identify registered sex offenders in their neighborhood, and by not allowing children or teens to trick-or-treat alone.

Editor's note: The information used in this article originally appeared on Oak Lawn Patch in 2010. The local sex offender information is provided by the Illinois State Police.

Teena Dorn October 28, 2011 at 01:23 PM
"Persons convicted of misdemeanor or felony sex crimes involving children under age 18 as well as adult victims are required to register...." What? If you are a victim and are an adult you must register? That makes no sense.
Jessica October 28, 2011 at 03:35 PM
I take that to mean if their victims were adults they still have to register. The registry is not just for sex offenders who have targeted minors.
Carina October 28, 2011 at 05:00 PM
What's going on with the guy from Riegel Oaks?? The "Porn truck" guy? Didn't he have a court date this week?
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) October 28, 2011 at 07:53 PM
We're currently working on the update to that story.
Tobias Cichon September 30, 2013 at 06:25 PM
So, if a couple of adults went out and got busted having ass-sex in public years ago, they're not allowed to hand out candy on Halloween? I'm not sure the sex offender laws are as explicit as they should be. However, with how annoying hopping up to answer the door can be, I could understand someone doing something salacious just to have a reasonable excuse.
WA Mama October 02, 2013 at 09:28 AM
The Sex Offenders Registry is always a slippery slope for me. These are an awful lot of restrictions on a person, and, while I'm glad as a member of the public to get a head's up on these guys, I'd also like a head's up on murderers. And weapons felons. And robbers. You see where this is going. If a person goes to jail and serves their time, they're thought of as ex-criminals. Sex offenders are the only ones who are never considered ex-criminals...they're always criminals, we've just booted them back into society. They've served their time and then they have rules for the rest of their lives that none of the rest of us has, including don't leave the house in a costume and don't dress like the Easter Bunny. Pretty specific rules. Why don't murders have rules other than, "Try not to do that again?" Slippery slope, I'm telling you.

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