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Police urge safety on Halloween

By Staff | Nov 10, 2008

Stick out your pillowcase and say with your friends, “Trick-or-treat!” because Halloween is here again — just make sure you are safe while acquiring those mountains of sweets, warn local law enforcement agencies.

“Halloween can be a lot of fun for parents and kids alike — if everybody remembers the tricks and the treats of playing it safe,” said Martha LaForest, crime prevention coordinator of the Cape Coral Police Department.

LaForest offers a few tips that can make everyone’s Halloween a little safer:

— Make sure costumes are flame-retardant in case children come near jack-o-lanterns or other fire hazards. Costumes should be kept short to keep kids from falling. Makeup might be a good alternative to a mask due to the possibility a mask might obstruct vision while children are crossing streets and approaching steps. Also, trick-or-treaters should wear light colors or use reflective tape.

— Trick-or-treat in groups, and younger kids should be accompanied by adults. Map out a safe route and only stop at familiar homes where lights are on. If possible, trick-or-treat while it is still light out. If it gets dark, make sure kids have a flashlight and walk on well-lighted streets. Discuss with your children not to enter strange homes or vehicles.

— Feed your kids dinner or a snack before they trick-or-treat so they are not tempted to eat candy until they get home — all treats need to be checked out at home in a well-lit area. Trick-or-treaters should only eat unopened candies and other treats that are in their original wrappers; fruit and homemade snacks should be checked for anything suspicious.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office also has a few tips for those with a sweet tooth:

— Watch for cars around children and use sidewalks, walking against traffic.

— Stop, look and listen at corners. Do not run.

— Be aware of what homes are occupied by registered sex offenders. To learn about where sex offenders live, visit: www.sheriffleefl.org, look under “crime activity,” “sex offender e-mail notification,” and follow the instructions to register your request. Or visit: www.fdle.state.fl.us.

— Drivers should watch for children, not wear costumes while driving that impair vision, drink responsibly and call a cab or use a designated driver if they become impaired. Also, call 911 if you see a drunk driver.

Police will also keep an eye on things tonight, helping put parents’ minds at ease.

“(CCPD Special Ops) are doing ‘Operation Safe Trick or Treat’ citywide tomorrow night, which means extra patrols in the neighborhoods,” LaForest said Thursday.

State and local law enforcement will also look for drunk drivers tonight as part of the “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest,” campaign.

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistic shows that 44 percent of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night involved a driver or a motorcycle rider who had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, which is above the legal limit to drive in Florida.

“Halloween is a much-loved fall tradition enjoyed by people of all ages,” said Sgt. Allan Kolak of the Cape Coral Police Department in a written statement Thursday. “Unfortunately, Halloween also has become a very dangerous and deadly night of the year due to impaired drivers.”