(Some) Lights Out

(Some) Lights Out »Play Video
ADA COUNTY_ The Lights Out program goes statewide this year. It requires sex offenders to keep their porch lights off during trick or treating and stay home. But the program can't control all sex offenders.

Halloween is here, but many say gone are the days of wandering through the streets, on a quest to fill your candy bucket no matter how dark it got.

"We stopped buying candy because we don't even get children come to the door anymore, it's another reflection on a changing lifestyle," said grandmother Patricia Petty.

Many kids may be sticking closer to home because of new fears on Halloween, but not those of ghosts and goblins. Their parents are worried about the safety of their kids, particularly with an increased focus on sex offenders. In fact, entire websites are dedicated to pointing them out.

"I actually only just recently heard about that and we've gone through and looked up the websites, you know local sex offenders in our neighborhood," said Alena Sanborn, a mother who is taking her four year-old son trick-or-treating for the first time this year.

"It'll amaze you when you go and see who is in close proximity to where you live," said Petty.

"We just want to take as many proactive step as we can to keep small children away from the homes," said Kevin Kempf with the Idaho Department of Correction of the Lights Out program, meant to deter those sex offenders from interacting with children.

They cooperate with local police and sheriff's deputies to knock on sex offender doors and make sure they are complying with the Lights Out rules. But those that have completed their parole requirements aren't included in their sweeps or the program. They can revel in Halloween festivities like the rest of us; porch lights, candy and all.

In Ada County, that's about half of the 639 sex offenders in the area.

"[Sex offenders] should always have an eye watching [them] and without that eye I think that they may just take a chance once in awhile," said Petty.

But others contend it's not how strict the supervision of sex offenders is, it's how diligent parents are.

"I'm a parent," said Kempf, "and I think it goes along with just good parenting ... [teaching] your child to be cognizant of people in the community that are a danger to them."

"As long as we keep our children in eyesight and know where they are they'll be safer," echoed another parent, Annette Konecni.

Local police and Dept. of Correction officers say they've never had any problems with sex offenders on Halloween, and remind the public that their supervision continues all year, not just on the scary holiday.

Parents can also use websites like family watchdog or map sex offenders to see where sex offenders live and avoid those addresses while trick-or-treating. They do, however, need to enter their name into the Idaho Dept. of Correction website to see if they are on probation or not.