This coming weekend will see the arrival of Halloween on Sunday, October 31st. There will undoubtedly be large groups of children out and about Trick or Treating on Sunday evening. Our primary concern on Halloween, and any other time, is the safety of children. With that in mind, the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office would like to offer the following safety tips. It’s a good idea for parents to review these tips with their children before leaving for their “trick or treat” adventure:
1. Fake knives, swords, guns, and other costume accessories can potentially cause injury. Make sure they aren’t too long for the costume and review with your child that they are part of the costume and not a weapon. These items should be made out of cardboard or other flexible materials.
2. Only purchase costumes and accessories that are marked as flame resistant and keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
3. Consider using make up instead of a mask. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, which can be dangerous when children are crossing streets and going up and down steps.
4. Choose costumes with light colors and/or reflective tape. Someone in the group should carry a flashlight to alert approaching or passing vehicles to the location of the children. Consider putting reflective tape on the Halloween bags too.
5. Children should always trick or treat in groups, rather than alone. Adult supervision is preferable, and someone in the group should carry a cell phone for quick communication.
6. Parents should select the safest route for children to take. Children should stay on sidewalks, where available, or on the shoulder of the roadway facing traffic. Children should avoid walking in the roadway, in alleys, or in poorly lit areas, and they should be cautious not to dart from behind shrubs or parked cars. Drivers should slow down and use extreme caution, especially in residential neighborhoods where children are sure to be found.
7. Children should be instructed to stop only at familiar homes and where the outside lights are turned on. They should be advised to never go into a home or into a car to collect treats. Children should not stop at houses that are dark or do not have the porch lights turned on. Some people do not participate in Halloween activities and wish not to be disturbed. Please respect their privacy.
8. Children should be told not to eat any treats until they get home and the parents or adults can examine them. Only unopened candies and treats in original wrappers should be consumed. Treats with open packaging or torn wrappers should be discarded. Don’t forget to inspect fruit and homemade treats for anything that looks suspicious.
Halloween can be a safe, fun, and enjoyable evening for everyone with just a little advance preparation, communication, and diligence. Although no problems are expected Sunday evening, Baxter County Sheriff’s Deputies will, of course, be on patrol and available for assistance should they be needed by phoning the Sheriff’s Office at 870-425-7000.
/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff