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Have A Happy & Safe Halloween!

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Halloween is a fun time for both kids and adults, and a little preparation and caution can keep the holiday a safe one.

The first thing many think when they hear “Halloween” is “costumes.” Much thought and preparation go into them, whether they’re homemade or store-bought. But extra care should be taken when fitting children:

  • When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric.
  • Face paint or makeup instead of a mask.
  • Costumes should be light-colored, fit properly, be fire retardant and have reflective tape.
  • Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.

Fatal accidents involving children crossing streets increase four and a half times on Halloween night, according to numerous studies over the past few years. One misconception is that kids think drivers are watching out for them.
“If you see something suspicious, contact local law enforcement,” said Kameg. “Groups are a good thing, but go over a plan with your child,” says Keith Kameg at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The Pensacola Police Department is handing out two thousand dog tags that glow in the dark for kids to wear on their costumes. However, they’re not intended to replace standard safety measures.

Children under the age of 10 should be accompanied on their rounds by adults. Older kids going out on their own need to know their home phone number and how to call 911. John Dosh at Escambia County Emergency Management says it’s also a good idea to stay in familiar areas and only go to houses that have on their porch lights.

“Neighborhoods that you’re familiar with that may be well-lit with street lighting,” said Dosh. “Safe areas where the kids can actually trick-or-treat and have a good time.”

Registered sex offenders, by law, are required to display a “No Candy at This Residence” sign in their yards. FDLE’s Keith Kameg says avoid those houses without exception.

“If you go to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website, you can find out who lives in your area,” Kameg said. “

Along with trick-or-treating there are other hazards, such as the traditional pumpkin-carving. Adults should supervise their little Freddie Krugers wielding sharp objects.  

Churches, schools and other organizations hold annual Halloween events or “Fall Festivals” for kids of all ages. Many feel they’re a safer alternative to trick-or-treating after sundown.

When everyone returns home with their haul, the snacking should hold off, until the candy gets a thorough once-over. Discard candy with loose wrappers, or if they look tampered with. Also, cut any fruit into pieces.

Adults are not immune to the dangers of Halloween. For those who drink too much witch's brew at parties – a designated driver or another ride home is in order. Triple-A is offering its “Tow-to-Go” program, guaranteeing a free ride home for both vehicle and owner. That number is (855) 2-TOW-2-GO, or (855) 286-9246.