Postponing Halloween: Sex offenders make the switch, too
A majority of central Indiana communities decided, because of the weather, they had to switch trick-or-treat dates.
But in Indianapolis, it wasn't just the severe weather threat factoring into that decision. Another safety threat played a big role and almost kept Halloween on Thursday - keeping track of sex offenders while kids roam the streets.
It's a different kind of door-to-door tradition that happens every Halloween in neighborhoods throughout Marion County. In tandem with young trick-or-treaters, Marion County Sheriff's deputies go to the homes of registered sex offenders to check for compliance with the law.
"Frankly, it makes everybody feel better knowing that you have increased enforcement out," said Maj. Michael Hubbs.
In an even bigger undertaking, more than 400 sex offenders, on parole or probation, have their own holiday plans. They must show up at a facility on Post Road for "Operation Halloween." It's a specific location to keep them off the streets and it's planned weeks in advance.
"These deputies have taken a lot of time to coordinate with the other officials, so the whole month of October we've been working on this initiative," Hubbs explained.
The Indianapolis Department of Public Safety says the logistics of having to change that date and notify hundreds of sex offenders played a major role in a major decision this year about when to hold trick-or-treat.
Severe weather potential, with heavy rain and damaging winds expected Thursday, caused almost every other local community to switch their Halloween.
"That's a great idea," said Indianapolis grandmother Janet Davis. "A storm is scary, yes and as warm as it is, could be bad storms."
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But Indy waited to make the call on a switch, in large part because of the big job of notifying sex offenders they'd have to switch too.
"That's a tough one, because your kid's safety is very important and you're talking about a whole different kind of safety here," Davis said.
In the end, the weather threat won out in Indianapolis. Public safety leaders, after talking with meteorologists, decided that trick-or-treaters will go out Friday instead. Operation Halloween will happen then too - both meant to keep kids safe.
So right now, probation officers are making hundreds of calls, telling sex offenders to show up Friday, instead of Thursday.
The same thing is happening in Bloomington, where they have a similar mandatory meeting. Even if the sex offenders are not required to attend the meeting in Indy because they're not on parole or probation, additional deputies will be out Thursday through Saturday - knocking door to door.