|For some local government departments, October is a scary month—and we’re not talking about ghosts, goblins or cavities. The celebratory parties, the kids in costume on foot, the potential for stranger danger and pedestrian accidents are far more dangerous. Work as a community to ensure that all those celebrating and not celebrating throughout the month stay safe and have fun.In the days leading up to Halloween, take efforts to educate the community and prepare them for increased foot traffic, the potential for drunk driving and increased crime and vandalism:|
- Set a designated trick-or-treat time for your community and communicate it widely.
- Distribute reflective tags or wristlets to kids and parents to help ensure that drivers see them the night of trick-or-treating or at community festivities after dark.
- Pass out flyers and tip sheets for Halloween safety at the library, community center and local businesses.
- Team your law enforcement with local schools to brush students up on safety in the week leading up to trick-or-treating and hand out Halloween Safety Cards or a Halloween safety coloring book and a special treat.
- Develop a poster or a window decal for Halloween that residents can display as a signal that they are handing out candy this year.
As your government organization lays the groundwork for making community members aware of potential hazards, also take efforts to remind parents to:
- Accompany young children when they go trick-or-treating.
- Carry a flashlight, cell phone and first aid kit.
- Plan a route with children and agree on a time to “check-in” with an adult.
- Only let children trick-or-treat in neighborhoods parents are familiar with and only to houses with front porch lights on.
- Caution children to never enter a person’s home while trick-or-treating.
- Have trick-or-treaters eat dinner before going out, or take a snack from home. Children shouldn’t eat any candy unless checked by an adult first.
- Check then Sex Offender Registry to learn who lives in the houses you plan to visit.
- Notify neighborhood watch groups of trick-or-treating times, and have them walk the neighborhoods to look out for children.
- Remind children to have respect for their neighborhood. Although some activities may seem like fun— smashing pumpkins, “egging,” spray painting and spraying property with shaving cream are all illegal activities that damage a person’s property. Police should be notified of any such activity.
Encourage drivers to:
- Drive slowly (with lights on) and defensively the night of trick-or-treating.
- Avoid wearing a mask or a costume that may limit movement or sight while driving.
- Obey all traffic signals, both as a driver and a pedestrian.
- Not drink and drive.
Remind pet owners to:
- Not leave pet(s) out in the yard the night of trick-or-treating or during community wide events. Instead, keep them confined to avoid stress or the risk of averse behavior around children and strangers.
- Make sure cats and dogs don’t dart outside when doors are opened.
- Keep candy away from pets: Chocolate is poisonous to many animals.
Halloween is a busy time—take steps within your community in the days leading up to this festive day to ensure it’s safe for everyone.
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