ORLANDO, Fla. – Spending Halloween night trick-or-treating is always a fun time for the family but it's also important to follow certain steps to stay safe.
In Florida, sex offenders are not legally prohibited from wearing costumes, decorating their homes or handing out candy as part of their registration, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. However, some offenders who are under supervision may be required to refrain from participating in Halloween.
In some cases, there are city and county ordinances restricting Halloween participation for offenders.
In Flagler County, for example, there are 131 registered sex offenders, 28 of which have specific sanctions that prevent them from handing out candy, decorating or leaving their porch light on Halloween night.
Either way, it's best for parents to know where convicted sex offenders live before Halloween comes around.
The map, provided here by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, allows users to search an address and see registered predators within a five-mile radius. Each house or tent icon on the map represents an offender.
Clicking each icon allows users to see more information about the offender, including the crime for which they were convicted.
Parents can take the map on the go by downloading FDLE's free app that offers a Florida sex offender registry search as well as information about Amber Alerts, missing children, wanted persons and stolen vehicles.
FDLE officials also recommend that parents teach their children certain safety tips before Halloween.
- Make sure your child knows their name, address and phone number.
- Children should know how to dial 911 in case of an emergency.
- Remind children not to share their personal information with strangers and not to go into a stranger's home or vehicle.
- Traffic safety tips, including walking on sidewalks and only crossing the road when it's safe to do so, should be reviewed and reinforced.
- Wearing bright colors and carrying a flashlight will help ensure that children are visible to drivers.
- Avoid wearing masks that make it difficult to see or hear.
For more tips on keeping children safe all year round, click here.