No jack-o'-lanterns, no candy, no lights and no parties.
Those are some of the Halloween rules the Kansas Department of Corrections is enforcing this year for the 815 sex offenders statewide who are on parole from prison. The department announced the rules Thursday as part of a "Halloween Action Plan" to ease residents' concerns about sex offenders in the community.
"There's so much fear and anxiety," KDOC spokeswoman Frances Breyne said. "It's just the responsible thing for us to do."
Breyne said parole officers would do extra supervision and surveillance in coming days and would remind sex offenders of their rules for participating in Halloween - even though in some cases the offender's crime had nothing to do with children.
The rules apply only to people who have been released from prison for a sex crime and are still under supervision, a category that includes at least nine sex offenders in Douglas County.
Prison officials in other states including New Jersey, New York and Texas announced programs similar to Kansas' in recent days. This is the fourth Halloween for the KDOC program, Breyne said, but it's being publicized for the first time this year.
"It's an enhancement to what we already do" to supervise sex offenders on parole, Breyne said.
Before Ron Stegall signs onto the idea that Halloween is more dangerous for children than other days, he'd like to see a study backing it up.
Stegall is in charge of supervising roughly 200 offenders who are on probation in Douglas County but haven't entered the prison system. He said his Community Corrections department didn't have any special Halloween plans for the sex offenders it supervises.
"We don't have any who were identified as a major concern at this point who are in the community," he said. "We believe in consistent supervision, day in and day out, as opposed to certain specific dates."
In the past five years in Lawrence, there has been just one Halloween incident involving a suspicious person approaching a child, said Sgt. Dan Ward, a Lawrence Police spokesman. In 2003, an 8-year-old boy told police a man in a silver sports car tried to give him candy in the 1100 block of Andover Street.