Local parents keeping Halloween safe

Local parents keeping Halloween safe
By: CJ Cassidy
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO -- Halloween is just around the corner, and if you're a parent, you know just how important it is to get your child's costume just right, in time to go trick or treating.
But there are a lot of other factors that weigh heavily on parents minds these days, when it comes to the spooky holiday.
Seven-year-old Noah Spradlin and his 4-year old sister MacKenzie, don't have limits on the amount of candy they collect Tuesday night, but they do have strict rules on how to go about trick or treating.
"I'm not supposed to go to stranger's houses alone, because they might take you somewhere," Noah explains.
Noah's dad, Kevin, says the spooky holiday's a lot scarier than it was back in his day. Not because of the ghouls and goblins; Spradlin says these days, one of the biggest fears parents have: their kids running into sex offenders.
"Before they put on their costumers, we say hey you've got to be careful. You've got to listen to us. So we go over our game plan before we actually get out there," Kevin says.
"You never ever go inside someone's house, unless your mom and dad tell you it's a friend of the family or grandma or grandpa," Sgt. Rick Schmidt with the Cape Girardeau Police Department says. He also suggests parents use online information to figure out where sex offenders live.
"You never know someone's ho knows their background, or whether they're going to assault or molest a child. We don't want to scare people, so that trick or treating becomes a thing of the past, but we want to make sure they use good judgement," Schmidt says.
Kevin Spradlin doesn't plan on letting his children out on their own anytime soon.
After all, he says he has no intention of Halloween turning into a real life nightmare.
Police also ask parents to put reflective clothing on their children to alert motorists, and remind them to check both directions before crossing streets.
In Illinois, a program called Operation Safe Spirits helps state officials check in with each of the state's 1,100 paroled sex offenders.
Illinois law says on Halloween, paroled sex offenders are not allowed to go outside, dress in costume, pass out candy or have their porch lights on.