With numerous fall festivals and kids scouring the neighborhoods for candy, there’s plenty of things to keep people busy. And because of that, law enforcement officials across the county are urging people to use extreme caution to prevent accidents.
Jasper Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe said her department will be out in force Thursday night, with both marked and unmarked patrol cars scouring the city to deter any unlawful activity and to make sure that trick-or-treaters remain safe.
“Our biggest concern on Thursday will be for the safety of our community’s children who may be going door-to-door collecting candy,” Rowe said Tuesday. “There are some neighborhoods that are significantly congested Halloween night. We encourage drivers to be particularly cautious and parents to be overly protective.”
The Jasper Police Department will be open from 6 until 8 p.m. Thursday, with members distributing healthy snacks to those who stop by.
Businesses in the Jasper Mall are also planning to hand out candy, and a number of area churches have scheduled fall festivals to coincide with Halloween and provide safe and family-friendly activities.
Anyone who chooses to celebrate Halloween in ways that are unlawful in Jasper can expect a visit to the Jasper City Jail, Rowe said.
Her department will not tolerate acts of vandalism or dangerous activities.
Police departments across the county have similar policies and will make arrests if necessary.
Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
ALL DRESSED UP
•Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
•Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
•Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
•When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
•Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts. Teach children how to call 911 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.
CARVING A NICHE
Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers, then parents can do the cutting. Under parents’ supervision, children ages 5 to 10 can join Votive candles are safest for candle-lit pumpkins. Lighted pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.
HOME SAFE HOME
To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs. Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps. Plan and review with your children the route which is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when revelers should return home.
A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats. Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils. Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items. Try to portion treats for the days following Halloween. Although sharing is encouraged, make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies), are given only to those of an appropriate age.
Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going. Only go to homes with a porch light on. Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic. Never cut across yards or use alleys. Never enter a stranger’s home or car for a treat. Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations. Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom).
Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will! Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.