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Think safety this Halloween
When trick or treating:
• Wear a costume that makes it easier for you to walk, see and be seen.
• Select costumes, masks, wigs, or beards made of flame retardant materials.
• Use makeup instead of a mask.
• A mask may keep you from seeking well, so make sure to take it off before crossing streets.
• Plan your trick-or-treat route ahead of time. Pick well-lighted streets.
• Ask a parent, older brother or sister to trick-or-treat with you.
• Tell your family on which streets you will be trick-or-treating.
• It's best to trick-or-treat when there is still light outside.
• If you must go at night, make sure that your costume is a light color.
• Carry a flashlight with you, so you can see and be seen easily.
• Cross streets only at corners. Never cross between parked cars or mid-block.
• If there are no sidewalks, always walk facing traffic.
Halloween is often a child's favorite time of the year — wild costumes, the complete run of the neighborhood and mountains of candy. What kid doesn't like that?
But as much as Halloween can be a treat, it can be something of a trick making it safe for everyone.
Willows Police Chief Bill Spears reminds parents and motorists to put safety first tonight when ghouls and goblins begin roaming the streets.
"We don't usually have a lot of problems on Halloween, but we do have a lot of small children in the streets," Spears said.
Spears said motorists need to be extra careful after dark when the streets are full of trick-or-treaters.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,000 pedestrian children are injured during the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. of Halloween each year, which is four times greater then the national average for the same time period during any other night of the year.
Spears asks parents to make sure children wear light colored costumes or apply reflective tape or stickers. Children should also use a crosswalk when there is one and carry a flashlight.
Homeowners can prepare their home for trick-or-treaters by removing obstacles from the front yard, restraining dogs and other animals, and lighting the house well.
Motorists should also watch for vehicles dropping kids off.
"We want it to be a time of excitement, fun and joy, not one of real horror and tragedy," Spears said. "We want parents and trick-or-treaters to be safe."
General safety means sticking to well-lit houses in familiar neighborhoods, avoid taking shortcuts across backyards and alleys, and trick or treat in groups.
Knives, swords and other props should be made of a flexible material, so that they don't pose a hazard if fallen on.
Parents should also instruct children to bring all candy home before eating it so that they can carefully inspect it for tampering and tell children not to accept - and, especially, not to eat - anything that isn't commercially wrapped.
The Willows Police Department along with other law enforcement agencies will have extra personnel on duty.
"If there is a problem, call the police immediately," Spears said. "We will be watching to ensure everyone's — especially our children's — safety."
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.