ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Candy will be on the minds of kids while they’re trick or treating, but safety is always a parent’s top priority.
There are laws in Missouri and Illinois designed to protect trick-or-treaters from registered sex offenders by forbidding them from handing out candy. But News 4 has learned the laws don’t cover all sex offenders.
In Missouri, it’s only illegal for sex offenders to hand out candy if they were convicted after August, 2008, when the law was enacted.
Those offenders who are covered by the law must stay inside from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and keep all exterior lights off. They also cannot hand out candy and must put a sign on their front door saying there’s no candy at that address. There are no restrictions for sex offenders convicted prior to August 2008.
In Illinois, sex offenders who are on parole or probation are forbidden from handing out candy to kids on Halloween. A new law will take effect in Illinois on January 1 that will outlaw all sex offenders from handing out candy to children on Halloween.
Police recommend parents do an online search to check if there are any registered sex offenders in their neighborhood before taking their children door to door. That way parents will know which houses to avoid.
Here are a few websites that make it easy to search for sex offenders in your neighborhood: