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     Halloween is tomorrow night, Saturday, October 31st.  If the rain doesn’t return, we expect there to be large groups of children out trick or treating and going to other events, particularly since there will be no school the next day.


     With that in mind, the Sheriff’s Office would like to offer the following safety tips.  Our primary concern on Halloween is the safety of all children.


            1.  Halloween blood and gore are harmless stuff for the most part.  But sometimes dressing up as a super hero, swashbuckling pirate, or an alien from outer space – coupled with the excitement of Halloween – brings out aggressive behavior.  Even fake knives, swords, guns, and other costume accessories can potentially hurt people.  If these objects are part of a child’s costume, make sure they are made from cardboard or other flexible materials.  Better yet, challenge kids to create costumes that don’t need fake weapons to be scary and fun.


            2.  Costumes should be flame-retardant so the little ones aren’t in danger when near a burning jack-o-lantern or other fire hazard.


            3.  Keep costumes short to prevent trips, falls, and other bumps in the night.


            4.  Try using make up instead of a mask.  Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, which can be a dangerous thing when kids are crossing streets and going up and down steps.


            5.  Costumes with light colors and/or reflective tape are best.  Someone in the group should carry a flashlight.


            6.  Kids should always trick or treat in groups, rather than alone, preferably with adult supervision.


            7.  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, and avoid walking in the roadway itself.  Drivers should slow down and be particularly alert for children crossing the roadway, darting from behind shrubs or parked vehicles.


            8.  Children should be instructed to stop only at familiar homes and homes where the outside lights are on.  Kids should not stop at houses that are dark or do not have the porch lights turned on, because not every family participates in Halloween activities.


            9.  As an alternative of going door to door, parents should consider taking their children to organized, sponsored Halloween events that are usually held in the community at youth centers, churches, nursing homes, or other civic locations.


            10.  Children should be told not to eat any treats until they get home and the parent or adults can examine them. 


            11.  Children (and adults) should only consume unopened candies and other treats that are in original wrappers.  Treats with open packaging or torn wrappers should be discarded.  Don’t forget to inspect fruit and homemade treats for anything that looks suspicious.



     The Sheriff’s Office will have several extra deputies on patrol in each of our six rural patrol zones on Halloween night.  While we do not expect any problems at all, persons observing any kind of dangerous or suspicious activity should immediately report it to the appropriate law enforcement agency.


     /s/ John F. Montgomery

    Baxter County Sheriff



**Some of these safety tips were provided by the National Crime Prevention Council**