I remember when I was a small child and went out trick-or-treating on Halloween. My mom would graciously walk with me from door to door while I would go collect my candy. When I got old enough to where I could go with my friends, it was okay for us to go alone. I grew up in the Village of Hamilton, home of Colgate University, and because it was such a small town everyone knew everyone and watched out for each other.

Unfortunately we don't have the luxury of feeling safe sometimes - in regards to ourselves AND our families (and also in more ways than just one, but we're going to be specific in this instance.)

Knowing where registered sex offenders live has always been an important piece of knowledge for parents to have. Also, as a parent, you have the right to be concerned about which houses are safe for your child to go.

That's where 'Operation Halloween' comes into play...

'Operation Halloween' was put into place by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Each year, they take the safety of our kids very seriously. Sex offenders under the supervision of DCCS will be closely monitored on Halloween night to help make sure that kids and their parents are able to enjoy safe Halloween activities in our neighborhoods.

Under 'Operation Halloween', sex offender parolees must remain inside their home starting in the early afternoon on Halloween, or immediately following the end of their workday or upon completion of an approved community program. The must remain inside until 6 a.m. the day following Halloween. Parolees are not allowed to participate in any Halloween activities. They aren't allowed to wear any costume, mask or other disguises; and are NOT allowed to open the door to trick-or-treaters. Parolees are also required to answer their phones because their parole officers will be making calls throughout the night, as well as conducting unannounced curfew visits.

The state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has information about medium- and high-risk sex offenders living in the community available with just a few clicks on Facebook. The Sex Offender Locator Application is accessible via the New York State Public Safety Facebook page.

'Operation Halloween' was implemented in 2006 and has been very successful and has generated significant positive response from communities across the state.

[NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision/NYS Public Safety Facebook]