The Washington Times - October 31, 2008, 02:57PM

Maryland sex offenders now have two options to alert families that they will not be giving out candy tonight: the original, jack-o-lantern sign handed out by parole agents earlier this month, or a new sign with no background, which state officials have ordered to replace the pumpkin signs. But the message is still the same: “NO CANDY AT THIS RESIDENCE.”

Here’s my write-up from this week. And here’s the gem that started it all, just two weeks ago.


The whole pumpkin-sign-for-sex-offenders program was an easy target for comedians this month. SNL ribbed the program on Weekend Update and Jay Leno mocked the new program in his opening monologue. (Here’s the clip from It’s at about 7:50 into the show) I heard that Stephen Colbert had fun with the pumpkin signs on his show, too. But I haven’t verified that yet.

So when the state yanked the vaunted pumpkin signs this week, I had to ask: Was it the national joshing?

Here’s the explanation given to me Thursday.

A state official said Wednesday that the new signs are only an “option” for agents to give to sex offenders who might not want to display a pumpkin.

“I don’t see it as an admission that the signs don’t work, or the signs aren’t good,” said Rick Binetti, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.


But here’s what the state told the L. A. Times in their story

According to [Parole Agent Supervisor Wonda] Adams, the controversy over the pumpkin prompted officials to distribute conventional signs that read “No Candy” in black letters on a colored background. Offenders must put up signs or face legal consequences.


What do you think? Did our fine corps of late-night humorists poke too hard? Or is this about better options for the state’s violent and child sex offenders?


Tom LoBianco, Maryland politics reporter, The Washington Times