updated 10/29/2004 6:12:17 PM ET 2004-10-29T22:12:17

Scores of child molesters and other sex offenders in Virginia will have to report to their probation offices for three hours Halloween night to keep them away from trick-or-treaters.

“I cannot recall that any of our offenders have offended while they’ve been on parole on Halloween,” said Randi Evans of the Virginia Department of Probation and Parole. “Our goal is to make sure they don’t.”

About 80 offenders in Prince William County alone are taking part in Operation Trick-Nor-Treat from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Officials could not say how many other communities are participating in the state-run program.

Kent Willis, executive director of the ACLU in Virginia, said requiring parolees to attend mass meetings is within the law, but just barely.

“There’s something slightly unsavory about this,” he said.

The state also has a program called Operation Porch Lights Out, in which offenders are told to keep their porch lights off during prime Halloween hours to discourage children from knocking on their doors.

Similar initiatives are in place in other states, including New York, Virginia and California, where Operation Boo bars parolees from having candy in their homes or putting up Halloween decorations. Three counties in the Lubbock, Texas, area have ordered sex offenders this Halloween to turn out their lights and not answer the door.

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