Staying Safe on All Hallows’ Eve

Josh Farley writes:

Kids will be out in force tonight for the annual tradition of Halloween trick-or-treating. But many areas in Kitsap and Mason counties aren’t exactly conducive to your typical trick-or-treater, so I asked some of our local law enforcement officials to explain some safety tips for people out and about tonight.

Here’s some tips from Port Orchard Police Department Chief Al Townsend:

Parents and guardians can help make this a safe and enjoyable evening for the children by following some basic guidelines:

Choose a bright colored flame* retardant costume with reflective material or reflective strips for high visibility. It should be short enough to prevent falls.

If your child wears a mask, make sure it fits securely and eyeholes are large enough to allow full vision. Consider the use of make-up instead.

Costume accessories (swords, wands, etc.) should never be sharp or in any other way present a safety hazard. They should be made of soft, pliable material.

Children should carry flashlights to help them see as well as aiding others to see them.

Young children of any age should be accompanied by an adult. They should never go out alone. Chaperones should watch them carefully.

Older children, such as teenagers, who may be going out without an adult need to know what time they are expected home. Know where they are going.

Although tampering is rare, always inspect everything your children have been given before they are allowed to consume it or use it. Toss out anything in question. Obvious tampering should be kept for inspection by the police.

Instruct children to:

Walk, don’t run.

Stay on sidewalks. If there are none, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.

Obey traffic signals. Use crosswalks.

Avoid cutting across yards and driveways.

Approach only those houses that are lit.

Stay away from and don’t pet animals.

Never eat candy or treats until it is inspected by an adult.

Be cautious of strangers.

Accept treats only in the doorway. Never go inside a house.

Stay away from any open flame source such as jack-o-lanterns.

Homeowners can help by doing these things:

Make sure your yard is clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes, flower pots, and anything else that can trip the young ones.

Keep pets contained to protect them and to avoid the possibility of an inadvertent bite. Remember that pets can become frightened.

It is best to avoid real flame. If you do use candles, place the pumpkin well away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing.

Make sure decorations are away from flames, and that they cannot be blown into them.

Don’t give homemade treats. Give sealed, pre-packaged items.

Halloween is meant to be a fun time for all. Following a few simple rules can also help to make it a safe time for all.

Here’s a press release from the Mason County Sheriff’s Office (thanks to Chief Deputy Dean Byrd):

As Halloween approaches your Mason County Sheriff’s Office offers a few tips for a safe trick or treat experience. Children are encouraged to carry a flashlight. Children are encouraged to stay on sidewalks and to stay in familiar neighborhoods. Kids should approach only houses that are lit. They should be encouraged to stay away from and don’t pet animals you don’t know. Reflective clothing that does not drag on the ground is most desirable for maximum visibility for drivers. Avoid wearing masks when walking from home to home.

Parents are advised to have the kids carry a cell phone in case they need to call home. Young children of any age should be accompanied by an adult while trick or treating. Parents should ensure costumes are made of flame-retardant material. Although tampering is rare, tell children to bring the candy home to be inspected before consuming anything. Look at the wrapping carefully and toss out anything that looks suspect.

Homeowners (Trick or Treat hosts) should make sure their yards are clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes and flower pots that can trip the young ones. Pets get frightened on Halloween. Put them up to protect them from cars or inadvertently biting a trick-or-treater. Battery powered jack o’lantern candles are preferable to a real flame. If you do use candles, place the pumpkin well away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing. Make sure paper or cloth yard decorations won’t be blown into a flaming candle. Homeowners are encouraged to provide only commercially made foods and candies. Non-food treats: plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, coins are also good.

Sheriff Casey Salisbury says “Halloween tragedies can be avoided in most instances by kids, parents and homeowners just using common sense.”

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