"No lights, no candy."
It's a universal Halloween rule. As kids, we spent little or no time thinking about why.
Most of us, our parents included, assumed a house without a porch light meant the homeowners were out. When we came across a dark house where it was obvious the homeowners were home, we wrote them off as weird, or boring cheapos, and set our sights on the next Reese's dealer next door. That was the end of it.
It never occurred to us that there was a darker reason their lights were off.
The Dark Truth About Dark Homes on Halloween
We were today-years-old when we learned registered sex offenders are required to turn their home's exterior lights off on Halloween. In 2014, the Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls Press spoke to the Idaho Sheriff's Association about the state law.
For the safety of you, your children, and the registered sex offender, if the porch light is not on, do not trick-or-treat at this residence. -Idaho Sheriff's Association
The Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls Press also noted that in addition to the porch light rule, registered sex offenders are prohibited from answering the door on Halloween.
Four years later in 2018 however, KTVB7 reported the law exclusively pertained to sex offenders on probation and parolees. In an interview with the Boise news outlet, Sheriff Kieran Donahue of Canyon County added the law intends to protect children as well as citizens on the Idaho Sex Offender Registry.
Law enforcement would rather not see [registered sex offenders] put themselves in harm's way to develop a situation where something could happen, or it could be inferred, it could be alleged. It can be just as damaging in some cases where they have to defend that.
Know Before You Go
Before anyone gets carried away, it would be irresponsible to assume every dark residence in Idaho on Halloween belongs to a known sex offender.
Before you take your children trick-or-treating this year, take a look at the Idaho Sex Offender Registry to help you plan your route. The gallery below also highlights the residents of known sex offenders in the Treasure Valley and beyond.
What are your thoughts on Idaho's Halloween law for registered sex offenders? Email your opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registered Sex Offenders in the Treasure Valley & Around Idaho
Gallery Credit: Ryan Antoinette Valenzuela
Have You Experienced Halloween's Number One Injury?
Gallery Credit: Ryan Valenzuela
Trick-or-Treat Alternatives That Every Idaho Parent Would Love
Gallery Credit: Chris Cardenas