Law enforcement agencies are making sure Halloween fun does not turn scary for trick-or-treaters and their parents.
Jefferson City Police, the Cole County Sheriff's Office and Missouri State Highway Patrol are working together to keep children safe. That includes everything from cautioning drivers to be aware of children crossing the street to making sure area sex offenders follow established regulations.
Sergeant Paul Reinsch of the Missouri State Highwal Patrol said there are four rules sex offenders have to follow on Halloween night.
Number one is they have to avoid all Halloween contact with children. Number two is they have to stay inside their residences from the hours of 4 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. They also have to post a sign on their residence saying there is no candy or treats at that residence. And the fourth thing is that all residential lighting at that residence has to be off starting at 5 p.m.," Sgt. Reinsch said.
Children should not approach a house that has its lights off and no decorations.
If a sex offender breaks those regulations, it is a class-A misdemeanor.
According to the Cole County Sheriff's Office, there are 26 sex offenders in Cole County required to comply with the Halloween restrictions.
Sheriff's deputies only found one not following the regulations during Halloween checks.
One offender did not follow the signage requirement but immediately corrected it.
One was not home, but authorities checked their residence and found it to be following regulations.
"We made contact, located, or left information with all of the offenders," Sheriff Greg White said. "With them knowing we do check up on them, their compliance increases."
Sgt. Reinsch also had a few general rules for both parents and children.
"It's going to be dark this [Halloween] evening, maybe some rain in the area, so we ask [parents] to dress the children in light-colored clothing. Make sure that [children] go with the buddy system, that they don't go alone...they don't take shortcuts through alleys or backyards, there may be construction or something going on in the backyard that could be really dangerous for them. [Parents] look over all the candy they receive to make sure it's safe," he said.
There are several free apps for iPhone and Android that allow you to track your child's location while they are out trick-or-treating and sends an alert if they stray from a designated area. Two of those apps are "Track n Treat" and "Family GPS Tracker."