Valdosta, GA - Trick-Or-Treaters are sure in for a treat at the end of Sherwood Street in Valdosta. Susie Todd is getting her sons, Seth (11) and Jacob (9) ready to help scare kids at their neighbor's house for Halloween.
"This year for Halloween we'll have our butcher shop and this is going to be one of the people we've already chopped up," Susie said pointing out Seth's costume.
Each of the kids gets a gory costume. But even while they have fun as a family Susie worries about the real nightmares that can happen on Halloween.
"I tell the kids you have to watch who is watching them. Because you never know if it's a good person or a bad person or what that person might try to do to them," Susie said.
"There are Sex Offenders in any Jurisdiction," said Valdosta Police Commander Brian Childress. "That's always a concern for parents and the public."
Commander Childress says the reality of Sex Offenders is something they deal with every Halloween. But there's plenty parents can do about it.
The most important thing you can do is know where the Registered Sex Offenders are in your neighborhood ahead of time. You can pull up the list anywhere you have internet, including on your Smart Phone.
"So if you want to know where these Sex Offenders live at, just go onto the website or contact the Sheriff's Office," Commander Childress said. "And if you're so inclined that you want your children to avoid those particular residents, there's nothing wrong with that."
But what do you do if you are suspicious of someone, but you don't know if they're a Sex Offender?
"You call us, what we'll do is follow up with the Sheriff's Office and verify if this person has been Registered or not. If they're not, then either we or the Sheriff's Office will take action against those individuals."
To avoid those situations it is helpful to plan out a safe Trick-Or-Treating route with your kids. And parents like Susie know children under 13 shouldn't go without an adult chaperone.
"I do, when we take our kids Trick-Or-Treating I don't let them leave, they have to stay with us" Susie said. "If they decide to go with someone else they have to stay with an adult."
"When you're out with your kids make sure you have some type of reflective vest on or reflective clothing," said Commander Childress. "Make sure you have flash lights. Make sure you know where you're going."
Cell Phones and Whistles can be great tools for Trick-Or-Treaters going out without chaperones. Whistles especially can signal to everyone around if the child feels they're in danger.
As for the Todd family, Susie is comforted to know Seth and Jacob will be with her as they scare the living daylights out of everyone else in the neighborhood.