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Rules for Registered Sex Offenders on Halloween

Carved pumpkin on Halloween night, scary eyes and smile, dark and foggy night

Are You a Registered Sex Offender? You Have Limits.

While many Americans are celebrating Halloween this year, registered sex offenders who are under Active Community Supervision in Wisconsin are not. This is because the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) prohibits such offenders from participating in Halloween activities and encourages people to report any suspected violations of this rule.

Keep in mind that the DOC does not specify what Halloween activities involve exactly. The rule is very ambiguous and can be easily confused. As such, we hope to clear the confusion and better prevent a violation from occurring by providing examples of common Halloween activities below:

  • Pumpkin patches
  • Decorating houses/yards
  • Corn mazes
  • Pumpkin carving/decorating
  • Haunted houses
  • Costume contests
  • Trick-or-treating
  • Parties
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Scare pranks
  • Halloween movie screenings
  • Halloween events at amusement parks

While Halloween might be a little bit different this year due to COVID-19, it’s still essential for sex offenders to be mindful of their actions, as they can be perceived as violations of the Halloween rule. Remember, Wisconsin’s Sex Offender Registry is available to the public and includes personal and identifiable information such as:

  • Full name
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Photo of your face
  • Age
  • Birthday
  • Convicted offense

With this information in mind, sex offenders under Active Community Supervision must be extremely careful during and around Halloween. Parents may research registered sex offenders in the communities in which their children will be trick-or-treating and keep a close eye to ensure such offenders do not pose a threat to their children. In addition, police officers will be actively patrolling neighborhoods on Halloween to keep minors safe.

It will benefit registered sex offenders to learn the signs of sexual abuse, as stated by the DOC, to understand how the police and civilians determine whether sexual abuse has occurred. One sign of abuse is when offenders tell their victims that:

  • Something bad will happen if the victim speaks up
  • The offender will hurt or kill the victim or the victim's family
  • No one will believe the victim
  • Parents and friends won't like the victim anymore
  • Reporting the abuse will break up the family and the victim will have to live someplace else
  • That the family won't have enough money to live on if the offender goes to jail

Behavioral signs of sexual abuse include:

  • Unexplained or sudden fear of a particular person
  • Unexplained or sudden fear of certain places
  • Return to toddler-like habits, like thumb sucking, bed wetting, etc.
  • Unexplained or sudden self-consciousness about genitals, including becoming upset by bathing and diapering
  • Sudden knowledge and/or display of sexual words/behaviors that are not appropriate to their age group

Arrested for Violating the Rules?

Anything as minor as leaving a porch light on, decorating a yard with pumpkins and leaving a street-facing window open on Halloween could indicate a violation. Parents and police officers are highly vigilant for the safety of their kids on Halloween in particular, which is why any small mistake could have major consequences.

If you are facing legal troubles for violating Wisconsin’s “Halloween rule,” please contact us at (414) 882-8382 right away!