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Can Convicted Criminals Pass Out Candy on Halloween?

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The Halloween holiday has an association with criminal activity in many ways. Whether it’s rumors of poisoned candy or teenage vandalism, this day often evokes thoughts of illegal activity. Sometimes these are just the result of urban legends but Halloween may have actual legal ramifications for some people.

For example, some people may wonder if convicted criminals are allowed to take part in festivities involving children. Specifically, parents may worry that sex offenders are handing out candy to their children. On the other hand, convicted offenders who feel that they are reformed may believe that they have a right to take part in the holiday. Knowing more about the law can help everyone have a safe and legal good time on Halloween.

Sex Offenders and Halloween Laws

In recent years, several states including Texas have passed restrictions known as “Halloween laws“. These restrictions are designed to prevent convicted sex offenders from engaging in any Halloween activities where children are present. Although there are very few instances of anyone being harmed by a sex offender on Halloween, public fear of such an incident helped influence these laws.

In short, Halloween laws state that convicted sex offenders must avoid certain activities on the holiday. The restrictions state that offenders:

  • Cannot pass out candy
  • Must post a sign in their yard stating “No candy at this residence
  • Must stay away from certain locations, including haunted houses or corn mazes
  • Must not dress up in costumes or dress others up in costumes

Law enforcement officers may conduct checks on the addresses of sex offenders on Halloween. If they are not abiding by the laws, they may be arrested and charged with violating the terms of their registration. In some cases, this could lead to additional criminal charges or even the revocation of parole.

Criticism of Halloween Laws

Some people argue that Halloween laws are unnecessary, ineffective or unfair to offenders who are trying to move on with their lives. These critics point to a lack of confirmed cases of criminal actions committed by sex offenders on the holiday. They claim that any such stories are sensationalized or untrue.

Halloween laws are also criticized for being unnecessary. After all, nearly all convicted sex offenders are prohibited from having contact with young children and additional laws for this holiday may sound redundant.

Some registered offenders claim that the laws are unfair because they prevent offenders from enjoying Halloween with their own family members.

A study conducted in 2009 revealed that Halloween is no more dangerous for children than any other night of the year. In fact, children may actually be very safe on Halloween because of increased parental supervision and the fact that convicted sex offenders are not likely to re-offend.

Halloween Law Penalties

No matter what the critics say, the law is still the law. Registered sex offenders in Texas who ignore the Halloween laws could face:

  • Arrest
  • Incarceration
  • Fines
  • Revocation of parole
  • Additional criminal charges

In short, a person who must register as a sex offender is required to abide by all of the conditions of their registration and parole. If they violate any of these regulations, they can expect to face criminal consequences. If the laws indicate that they must post signs at their house on Halloween night, they must do so if they want to avoid a visit from the local police.

A person who has been charged with violating Halloween laws may want to consult with a defense attorney. The attorney may be able to argue that the defendant did not intentionally violate the laws. If this strategy is successful, the court may offer the defendant a plea bargain for a less severe charge.


Have you faced sex crime charges? It’s vital to retain a lawyer that is capable of protecting your rights and ensuring a fair outcome. The Law Office of Brett A. Podolsky has the experience necessary to provide aggressive defense. Contact his office today at 713-227-0087.

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