Published: Oct 29, 2011 3:36 AM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - In a couple of nights, local children will be dressed up in costumes, running from house to house collecting candy.

"I'm always with them when we trick or treat," Tammy Moreau said. "We always trick or treat in a safe neighborhood that we know the neighbors."
Parents know, not all threatening characters don costumes.

"Halloween is a tradition where there's a lot of children coming in contact with a lot of adults, and a lot of those are strangers," Lee County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Tony Schall.

Each Halloween, local law enforcement visits registered sex offenders and predators, making sure they're following the rules.

"They are the folks that are not to be passing out candy, not to have decorations and not to have their lights on even," Schall said.

While there are plenty of protections in place to keep registered sex offenders from participating in Halloween activities around children, there are loopholes. Under Florida law, that only applies to offenders under probation.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as of Friday night, there are 593 total registered offenders or predators in Lee County. Only 158 of these are under probation, meaning 435 can legally greet trick or treaters at their doors, or accompany their kids while trick or treating.

In Charlotte County, 168 are unsupervised. And in Collier County, 178 are unsupervised.

"That's kind of scary," Dena Jewell said. "I don't know that I'm going to let him go this year now."

This doesn't have to deter the fun. Just be aware:
     -trick-or-treat in groups
     -map out a safe route
     -only stop by familiar homes, and ones that are well-lit

"Parents should take advantage, find out where the sex offenders are, stay away from the houses," Moreau said.
Under probation or not, all sex offenders must still abide by county laws on Halloween. For example, under the Lee County Child Safety Ordinance, they are prohibited from being in public beach areas or parks while children are present.