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Halloween trick-or-treating in Idaho: Can sex offenders hand out candy?

If the lights are out on a house, no one could be home. It could also mean something else.

BOISE — For kids, Halloween is all about candy, costumes and fun. For parents, there are some important safety tips to keep in mind.

When trick-or-treating, if the lights are out at a house and no one comes to the door, usually it's a sign no one’s home.

But it could also mean something else.

Registered sex offenders in Idaho are also required to do this if they are on probation or parole.

"That is overseen by the Idaho Department of Corrections and they are not allowed to have lights on and hand out candy on Halloween," said Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue. "That's part of the condition of their release."

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According to law enforcement, those on the registry but not on probation or parole are technically allowed to hand out candy but are encouraged not to.

"I think it’s certainly a safety precaution for children, we want to protect our most vulnerable people out there and that's our kids," Donahue said.

He added that the rule is for the offender's protection as well.

"Law enforcement would rather not see them put themselves in harm’s way to develop a situation where something could happen, or it could be inferred, it could be alleged," Donahue said. "It can be just as damaging in some cases where they have to defend that."

To protect registered sex offenders from being the target of harassment or violence this Halloween, the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws is hosting a nationwide hotline, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST, on Halloween.

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Offenders can report abuse to the hotline.

"We are encouraging persons who are on the registry, in any state, to call us with any concerning activity that might be going on where they are feeling the overreach of laws that our outrageous treatment during Halloween that is violating their civil rights or their constitution or human rights ... " said Brenda Jones, executive director for NARSOL.

More information about registered sex offenders in Idaho can be found on the Idaho State Police website.

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