COLLEGE STATION — As parents prepare to send out their little ghosts and goblins for a busy night of Halloween fun, are they certain they have properly equipped them for a safe return home? Coordinated Campaign Safe and Sober suggests all parents accompany their children as they go trick or treating.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator, Dr. Ricardo Martinez, said, “this is the holiday when children make trick- or-treat visits in their neighborhoods, and when adults attend costume parties or other festivities. By taking a few simple precautions, everyone can have a fun and safe holiday.”
Martinez said drivers need to slow down and watch for children near curbs, sidewalks and roadways, and to enter and exit driveways with caution. He also cautioned children and adults to look both ways before crossing the street and to use crosswalks whenever possible.
According to Martinez, children should walk and not run from house to house. Parents need to make sure children’s costumes don’t interfere with their ability to walk. Martinez said it is also important to make sure masks don’t interfere with vision or hearing so they can at least sense dangerous traffic situations and react properly.
Many police departments throughout the state are working closely with the communities to make Halloween a safe and enjoyable event for youngsters. Police in College Station, for example, have incorporated Halloween safety programs with their October crime prevention program.
Officer Janice Fife-Kemp, D.A.R.E. instructor and crime prevention for the College Station Police Department, said they have extended their student contact through the D.A.R.E. program and will be in the classrooms giving Halloween safety tips to children. They also hand out silver reflective Halloween bags for children to carry so they may be seen more easily.
Kemp said parents need to go with their children and stay in their neighborhood where they know people. School carnivals and other planned activities are a great way for children to have a good time. Martinez said with the changing of seasons, the streets become darker much earlier. He encourages all parents to make sure children wear light colored costumes and carry a flashlight so they may be seen in the dark.
Kemp suggested if children want to wear a costume that will not show up well in the dark, parents can attach pieces of reflective tape to the sleeves and on the collar so the children can be seen.
She said it’s also important for parents to check the children’s candy to make sure it’s safe and has not been unwrapped. Anything like fruit should be washed and sliced before eating. She said anything suspicious should be thrown away. Parents can also look for non-candy items to give away such as decorated erasers, pencils and similar items.
“We also need to remind adults not to let any costumes they are wearing affect their driving,” Marlene Albers, Campaign Safe and Sober Coordinator, said. “Do not exercise poor judgement by creating a dangerous situation when wearing a Halloween mask that may limit vision while driving. Adults also should remember not to drink and drive, especially if they have been attending any Halloween parties.”