Halloween Safety Tips | Community Spirit
All Hallows Eve has an extensive history spanning hundreds of years and was originally recognized by various civilizations as a religious event to honor saints or make sacrifices on behalf of the dead. Our present version of Halloween comes from an ancient Druidic festival signaling the end of the harvest. It was believed that the boundaries between the past and the present could be negotiated during this time and the dead often walked amongst the living.
A commonly asked question is when does Trick-or-Treating start? There is no official start time for sending your miniature ghouls and goblins out in search of candy, but historically it begins once it gets dark. On the other end, most Trick-or-Treating is done by 9:00 pm in anticipation of getting to bed for work/school the next day. The city-imposed curfew for anyone under 18 years of age is 10:00 p.m.
For the brave souls who will hit the streets on a quest for sugary indulgences, here are a few words of wisdom:
1. Make sure your child's costume has eyeholes that offer enough front and side visibility.
2. Outfits with reflective, fireproof material are recommended. Most department stores and online distributors also sell lighted accessories such as glow sticks, flashing jewelry, wands, and illuminated pumpkins.
3. Plan a safe route of travel and avoid cutting through fields and down alleys. Only go to places you are familiar with and never go inside people’s houses or get in their cars.
4. A parent or older sibling should accompany younger kids.
5. Discourage children from eating any of their treats until it has been inspected.
6. Check all props, (such as fake knives and swords) for sharp and/or pointed edges.
7. Report illegal activity to the police.
1. Don't forget that chocolate is deadly to pets (and some candy wrappers are dangerous as well).
2. Kids carving pumpkins should be monitored and the instruments used should be closely scrutinized (most pre-packaged kits come with scoops and mini saws that are safe to use).
3. If you use candles in pumpkins or for decorations, make certain they are stable so they won’t tip over or catch anything on fire.
4. Extinguish all flames before turning-in for the evening and never leave any fires unattended. Consider battery-powered lights as an alternative.
5. Watch for trip hazards when setting-up any props in front of your haunted house.
6. Finally, adults planning to attend the party circuit, please don't drink and drive (doing Field Sobriety Tests and getting your booking photo taken in a super hero costume would not be cool).
This list is not all-inclusive, but should get everyone off to a safe start. Additional tips can be found online, but the best measure of safety is always good old-fashioned common sense.
If you have concerns about the safety of your children, but still want them to participate in Halloween activities, remember there are many community events that provide a safe environment. The 5th Annual Halloween Fall Festival is one such event held at Veterans Memorial Park on Monday, October 31 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. The family can join in the festivities with games, candy, music provided by the Sierra Vista Community Band and a free showing of Scooby Doo.
These safety tips were written by Lieutenant Jim Adams, a retired veteran officer with more than 16 years on the force. His career includes eight years in Special Operations as a detective and eight years in the Patrol Bureau. He was also one of the founding members of the Special Response Team where he served as the Sniper Element Leader before moving on to other pursuits.