Sex Offenders Abusing Children on Halloween? It’s a Myth


A North Carolina sheriff tells parents to check the online sex offender registry before allowing children to trick-or-treat. A Montana town offers a “trunk-or-treat” event where kids can get Halloween candy from trunks of cars in a parking lot to avoid potential danger. Are these and many other precautiouns taken by cities regarding sex offenders and Halloween rational? Research shows no evidence of increased child sex abuse on Halloween and no evidence that a child was ever a victim of sexual abuse by a stranger while out trick-or-treating, says sociologist Emily Horowitz of St. Francis College in Brooklyn, writing for the Huffington Post.

About 93 percent of sex crimes against children are not committed by strangers but by family members or acquaintances. Laws linking sex offenses to Halloween are the product of a culture marked by decades of irrational fears about children and safety on Halloween. Sociologists, such as Joel Best, have tried to understand the urban myths surrounding poisoned candy on Halloween. Media reports warning of potential dangers, such as razor blades in apples, first appeared in the early 1970s, and then spread via word-of-mouth. Best has never found a death or injury of a child on Halloween related to candy based on his decades of research — and the only substantiated case involves a child deliberately harmed by his own father.

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