Be careful where you trick-or-treat - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Be careful where you trick-or-treat

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Halloween is just around the corner.  But before you take your little ones out trick-or-treating, you may want to consider mapping your route.        

Halloween trick-or-treating is meant to be a fun experience for young ghosts and goblins.  But it's important to be vigilant about where you take your kids to ensure whoever's behind the door is only there to give out candy.

"It's as safe as you want to make it, depending on the amount of time you want to spend preparing.  So having a planned route, paying attention to the neighborhood that you're in, and the folks that you know.  Maybe it's wise not to trick-or-treat at a house you don't know the owners of," said Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson.

After all, the Iowa sex offender registry currently shows nearly 250 sex offenders in Black Hawk County alone.  And the state only has laws restricting where those offenders can live.  Local law enforcement agencies say they are vigilant about keeping up with the current addresses of offenders, so that publicly accessible offender registry websites are accurate.

"We've got an officer that that's their full time job is to maintain that registry and that information.  The other thing is we're very vigilant to make sure they're meeting their requirements.  So if they don't come in and check in with us, if they're on such a structure, we're knocking on their doors," Thompson said.

But some states take it a step further, and what sex offenders can do on Halloween is regulated.  In Iowa, there aren't laws specific to offenders and the ghostly holiday.  But in neighboring Illinois, offenders currently on supervision cannot hand out candy.  And in Wisconsin, sex offenders on supervision cannot participate in any Halloween activities.  These laws and web information are all part of an effort to keep your kids safe during this spooky holiday.

You can find the Iowa sex offender registry at  On the site, you can search for offenders by last name, address, or county.  For nationwide sex offender information, you can log onto

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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