How safe are trick-or-treaters?

We Just felt it may be a good time to repost this study as the season is upon us . I encourage all to post info and share this report to help aide in stopping the hysteria this time of year.
Outreach FAC

“How safe are trick-or-treaters? An analysis of child sex crime rates on halloween.
Chaffin M1, Levenson J, Letourneau E, Stern P.
Author information

States, municipalities, and parole departments have adopted policies banning known sex offenders from Halloween activities, based on the worry that there is unusual risk on these days. The existence of this risk has not been empirically established. National Incident-Base Reporting System crime report data from 1997 through 2005 were used to examine daily population adjusted rates from 67,045 nonfamilial sex crimes against children aged 12 years and less. Halloween rates were compared with expectations based on time, seasonality, and weekday periodicity. Rates did not differ from expectation, no increased rate on or just before Halloween was found, and Halloween incidents did not evidence unusual case characteristic s. Findings were invariant across years, both prior to and after these policies became popular. These findings raise questions about the wisdom of diverting law enforcement resources to attend to a problem that does not appear to exist.”

To read the entire report go to

13 comments for “How safe are trick-or-treaters?

  1. willb
    October 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    from free range kids:

    Two Abduction Attempts Reported in One Week
    Readers — This note from the commenter CoasterFreak reminds me of a fantastic Bloom County comic by Berkeley Breathed reprinted in the Joel Best book I am devouring: “Threatened Children: Rhetoric and Concern About Child-Victims.” (It’s all about how predator panic began and spread.) Anyway, the comic, from Nov. 21, 1987 (if anyone can figure out how to find it online), shows the reporter Milo rushing into his editor’s office shouting, “Boss!”

    “Yes, Junior Intern Milo?”

    “Remember all our sensational, panic-causing stories about The Great Child-Stealing Epidemic?!”


    “There NEVER REALLY WAS ONE!” Milo shouts.

    “Great Scott!” replies the editor. “Run a correction below the tide schedules on page 109!!”

    To which Milo calls, off camera, “Stop the presses!”

    And with that –

    Dear Free-Range Kids: This past week we had two reported attempts to abduct a child in my area. The first one involved a man in a black truck using candy to lure a 9 year old girl into his truck. He was persistent, but she refused and ran home and told her parents. The second one happened the very next day and involved a 30-40 year old Hispanic male asking a 10 year old girl to come over to him. When she refused, he grabbed her and she had to fight him off. She ran home and told her parents and within 24 hours a sketch was released that included details all the way down to him having a spiderweb tattoo on his elbow.

    Naturally, social media was in a tizzy about how dangerous the world is and how you should never let your child out of your sight ever for even one second!

    The problem? Both reports turned out to be false. Never happened. Neither of them. Is social media now all a-flutter with proclamations about how reassuring it is to know that these events were nothing more than children looking for attention? About how our world isn’t as scary as it seems after all?


    Instead, it is filled with warnings about how even though people are relieved that these things didn’t happen, they COULD have happened, so we all need to be extra vigilant in keeping an eye on our kids at all times and never letting them out of our sight, even for an instant.


    I have tried to counter these arguments with a level of sanity, but there’s only so much one guy can do when up against all the crazy people.

    Lenore: It’s always fascinating that when something DOESN’T happen — like, when you lose track of your kid at the store and it takes several tense minutes to find him or her but it wasn’t anything dangerous — someone usually suggests that this is a good reminder of how quickly kids can be kidnapped. Like in this radio commercial. All I can suggest is that we keep reminding people WHAT IF is not WHAT IS. – L.

  2. HOST
    October 15, 2014 at 3:35 am

    The irony of this is that for the most part it’s a misconception that states and local municipalities have created any such Halloween ordinances, so even if they were effective in protecting children, which they aren’t, it wouldn’t matter because the ordinances generally don’t exist.

    What does exist is restrictions imposed on offenders that are still on probation. Those are the offenders that are monitored by probation officers. Once probation is over, there is usually no longer any restriction on the offender having direct contact with children whatsoever, so even if such a Halloween ban were in place, what good does it do to say no Halloween related contact with children, if the offender can legally be around children 365 days a year? Furthermore there is usually no such ban, unless the offender is on probation. People often forget one little fact, probation usually does end. Not all offenders are on probation.

    Just yesterday I learned of a state statute in Missouri related to banning certain Halloween activities for certain offenders. This is the first one I’ve come across that effects all offenders, probation or not. I was amazed because before yesterday, I never thought there was even one such law actually on the books. It’s certainly possible there are a few more in areas I’m still not aware of but for the most part, states don’t write these types of bans. It’s probation that creates these restrictions, and they can do so because they have such authority. However, they have no such authority over offenders no longer on probation.

    Since the general public understands very little of the specifics, they will probably never grasp that all offenders don’t have the same restrictions because sometimes probation is involved and sometimes it’s not.

    It’s like all the hysteria with residency restrictions. The assumption is if somebody can’t live by a school, then that’s going to stop them from setting foot near the school. One has nothing to do with the other. Same thing with Halloween. If it were an offenders motive to harm a child, how does banning Halloween activities promote safety, when the offender still lives in a neighborhood full of trick or treating children?

    • Gary Watkins
      October 17, 2014 at 10:20 am

      The rule {law} on Halloween has been in effect in Tennessee for several years now. The rso must stay at home, with the lights out and not answer the door for anything. Dressing in a costume is forbidden. Of course impersonating a fictional or real person or character at any time is forbidden/ for the purpose a enticing a child into the rso’s presence. Our society [the jury] assumes if your a rso dressed up for work or play your up to something . I recently read a statement by a non rso who was irritated by the inconvenience of the law implied upon himself. In the past he never observed Halloween, stayed at home with the lights out. He now fears his neighbor’s will think he is a South Carolina rso if he does not turn his lights on during the observance of Halloween, thereby endangering his pursuit of a long life, with liberty and happiness. //

  3. rich
    October 26, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    If they try to get me to turn my lights out, I will gladly turn off the outside ones, cause I want the world to know that I don’t celebrate the Devil’s holiday, however if the mean the ones inside my house, then I guess I’m going to jail.

    • Yeshua friend
      November 2, 2014 at 3:37 am

      Amen! Halloween is Satan worship! Shalom!

  4. Cathy
    October 27, 2014 at 7:30 am

    The answer is all RSO’s can go to adult only halloween parties, that way as a family we can have fun and not be at home to answer any door for anyone – makes the most sense to me. I remember a time when parents took responsibility for their children and didn’t let them roam around alone – but then that was also before there was a registry – before there was media hype on everything – before a person could be labeled a sex offender for pretty much anything. Why not key off of things like – the gentleman I think recently in Indiana – he killed several women – he was a murderer – the focus was that he was a registered sex offender in Texas – totally disregarding the fact he was in compliance with all sex offender requirements and this did nothing to save any of these women – the registry does nothing except bring suffering to families who have already paid their dues – let us all get on with our lives and try to focus on real criminals.

  5. iprazhm
    October 29, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Shared on FB.

  6. Kay T
    October 30, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I just couldn’t resist mentioning that after reading all of the above it suddenly came to my mind that since the whole sex-offender hysteria came out some years back I haven’t read any news articles about candy laced with all sorts of things bad. Could those bad candy news articles have been fake just to draw hits and sell news? OK, granted, maybe something happened somewhere but not everywhere and not all the time but it certainly did create hysteria some years back.


  7. Virginia Hall
    October 31, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    While law enforcement was monitoring, supervising, harassing and generally making life miserable for the local registered citizenry, this VICTIM was killed by a careless/inattentive driver. It is truly unfortunate that our priority seems to be continuing to persecute those who have already served their time, those that have a low reoffense rate. As long as the police and related agencies can continue serving up stranger danger and other sex offender myths and creating fear, they will have a job. Pity that protecting and serving society is no longer part of their mandate.

  8. Nick
    November 1, 2014 at 9:01 am

    I am still awaiting any news that a sex crime happened yesterday. I haven’t seen or heard anything like that. But what i did read this morning is that 3 teens were killed by a driver in a hit-and-run situation in Santa Ana California. The kids were reportedly trick-or-treating.

    Sad, but the reality continues to be that is more likely that you’ll be molested by the front end of a car on Halloween than by somebody on the registry.

  9. Kay T
    November 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I just read through all of these posts AGAIN and I think there are some GREAT posts about Halloween here!

  10. Scott
    October 14, 2015 at 12:15 am

    I am amazed just how things have changed so much among people as a society. Their was a day where we all worked our problems out on a civil level but it seems that since internet has pretty much ruled our lives to the point of dependence peoples attitudes have changed and people are always looking to find some dirt on someone.

    Too many people do things in haste rather than getting the facts. It is pretty sad that passing out candy has come as far as being unlawful in some communities simply because someone is registered.
    I think the bigger issue here is, that those who are on probation are only restricted from this simply because the offender was recently in trouble for harming a child or some 18 – 15 legal thing. Let’s understand that their are some who have histories of repeated offenses regardless of who they really are. (Trust was lost)
    On the other hand, those who have served their time should not have to serve time twice as in forever. Meanwhile someone has just been released from Prison. Please Pray For and Visit those in the prison house if restrictions don’t keep you from doing so.

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