While Halloween is all about costumes, sugar and fun for kids, parents behind the scenes need to plan for a safe holiday in the event that sex offenders stray from the law forbidding them from handing out candy on Halloween.
A 2005 Kirk Dillard law (House Bill 121/PA 94-0159) prohibits sex offenders from participating in any holiday event involving children younger than 18 years of age as a condition of their probation, parole, mandatory supervised release or conditional discharge, according to a release from Dillard's office.
Dillard this year sponsored a similar law (SB 3579/PA 97-0699). Offenders who break these laws may be subject to fines or revocation of their parole or probation, and could face additional jail time, according to the release.
“It’s always a good idea to be aware of any sex offenders living in your neighborhood, and then plan your Halloween route accordingly,” Dillard said in a statement. “The Illinois State Police (ISP) caution that Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for children. However, being aware of potential hazards and being prepared will help ensure a happy, safe Halloween night.”
DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba's countywide Sexual Predator Enforcement, Apprehension and Registration (SPEAR) team will be out Halloween night ensuring known sex offenders are complying with the requirements of the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act. If they are not in compliance, they will be arrested, according to a release from the sheriff's office.
“Parents need to know that sex offenders may take advantage of vulnerable children this time of year," Zaruba said in a statement. "I encourage every parent to take a few minutes before their children go out trick or treating to check one of the online sex offender registries so they know if there are any offenders living in their area."
Sex Offenders in Your Neighborhood
A search of the Illinois Sex Offender Registry links 10 registered sex offenders to the city of Elmhurst. Ten were found in Villa Park, 11 in Bensenville, three in Oak Brook, two in Northlake and four in Berkeley.
Six sex offenders live in Hillside, including James Bonafide, who was arrested Aug. 31 for making lewd comments to 8-year-old girls at Timothy Christian School in Elmhurst. This was not his first arrest for being near school children in Elmhurst.
Two additional offenders listed in Elmhurst are not on the map because they are currently in jail. One offender in Villa Park is non-compliant. Edwin R. Mazariegos left his last reported address and has not provided new information about his whereabouts, according to the Illinois Sex Offender website.
Sexual predators include anyone convicted after July 1, 1999, of certain violations in the Criminal Code of 1961. Sexual predators are required to register for their entire lives.
How the Map Works
The map is interactive, meaning you can zoom in, zoom out, or move it around to see all the plotted points.
Floating your cursor over one of the markers will give you the name and age of the sex offender and his address. Double clicking on the marker will give you more information about the specific charge.
Zaruba's Safety Tips
- Trick-or-treat before it gets dark in the late afternoon or early evening. (Trick-or-treating hours in Elmhurst are 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.)
- If parents and children must go out after dark, stay in well-lighted areas and bring a flashlight.
- Older children should trick-or-treat with an adult or in a large group. Parents should map out a safe route and tell their children to stop only at familiar houses where the lights are on.
- Young children should always trick-or-treat with a parent or trusted adult.
- Wear costumes that can be seen in the dark. Many stores sell glow-in-the-dark or reflective items that can be worn or carried while trick-or-treating. Costumes should also be flame-retardant and short enough to prevent tripping and falling. Avoid hard plastic or wood props, use foam rubber instead.
- Stay within your neighborhood and only visit homes you know.
- An adult should examine all treats before they are eaten. Eat only those treats that are un-opened and in their original wrappers. Sheriff Zaruba recommends that parents discard any homemade treats or fruits or, at a minimum, pay special attention to them. If you suspect that a treat has been tampered with, save it, and contact your local law enforcement agency for testing. (Note: Not all wrapped treats are safe, either. Last year, a Wheaton parent found a nail in a Snickers bar in their child's Halloween candy)
- Tell children that they should not enter anyone’s home or car while trick-or-treating. If someone tries to get them to come into their home or car, they should run away and immediately tell a trusted adult.
Other Halloween Articles That Aren't Quite So Serious:
- Ronald McDonald visits Elmhurst Park District's Halloween Town
- Customers in Costume Can Get a $2 Boorito (or Bowl, Salad or Tacos) at Chipotle on Halloween Night
- Scary Statistics: Facts and Figures about Halloween
- The Original 'Halloween' Returns to the Big Screen at York Theatre—and it's Popcorn Month
- Dryer Vent Pumpkins
- Going Batty for Halloween
- Enter to Win Patch’s Best Halloween Costume in America Contest
- Hey, Mom and Dad: When Are Kids Too Old To Go Trick-Or-Treating?
- Scare Your Kids Into Reading with These Books for Halloween
Let Patch save you time. Get more local stories like these delivered right to your inbox or smartphone with our free newsletter. Fast signup here.
See More on Patch
- Dispatches from DuPage: Stories of the April 2013 Flood
- UPDATE: Road Closure and Garbage Pickup Information from City of Elmhurst
- Field School Will Be Closed on Friday Due to Flood Damage
- Gov. Quinn Visits Elmhurst, Promises Investment of Public Money for Flood Control [VIDEO]
- Market Day and Store-bought Cheese Products Recalled for Possible E. Coli
Most Popular articles
- Man Charged With Videotaping Women in Bathroom at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital
- Former Baseball Coach, Arrested in Elmhurst Last Year, Filmed Sex Acts with Player, Lawsuit Alleges
- Feds Charge Elmhurst Woman with Healthcare Fraud
- York Receives Its Grammy Thursday at the Final Symphony Orchestra Concert of the Year
- DuPage DUI Arrests, May 19 Edition