When my husband and I got a notice informing us that a registered sex offender moved into a place just a couple blocks from where we live, we instantly felt a tightness in our chest and sat down to discuss all of the ways that we could make sure that our toddler would be kept safe.

My family doesn't live in a bubble. We go outside, we explore, we do things in our community and we don't let the ugliness of the world stop us from enjoying life and doing things, but we've also become more aware of our surroundings, especially since becoming parents.

With Halloween looming, you might be thinking ahead and concerned about the problem of sex offenders in area neighborhoods, especially on a night when a lot of little ones will be going house to house for treats. The answer to your concerns is something called "Operation Halloween."

Operation Halloween was put into place by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and they take the safety of our kids seriously. Very seriously. Sex offenders who are under the supervision of DCCS will be closely monitored on Halloween night in an attempt to make sure that kids (and their parents) are able to enjoy safe Halloween activities in our local neighborhoods.

Under Operation Halloween, sex offender parolees must remain inside their home starting in the early afternoon on Halloween, or immediately following the end of their workday or completion of an approved community program. They must remain inside until 6 a.m. on November 1. Under no circumstance are parolees allowed to participate in any Halloween activities. They're also not allowed to wear any costume, mask or other disguises; and they absolutely may not open the door to trick-or-treaters. Parolees are also required to answer their phones because their parole officers will be making calls throughout the night, as well as conducting unannounced curfew visits.

If you want even more, the state Division of Criminal Justice Services also has a Facebook page to help parents access info about the medium and high-risk sex offenders who live among us. Want to take a look at it? The Sex Offender Locator Application is accessible via the New York State Public Safety Facebook page.

[via NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision/NYS Public Safety Facebook]