Observe laws for holiday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Suffolk’s Commonwealth’s Attorney C. Phillips Ferguson involves his staff in a great deal more than prosecuting felons, and he’s recently offered a few tips on how to keep children safe during the Halloween festivities.

&uot;In the United States, we’ve celebrated Halloween since the early 1800s,&uot; said Ferguson. &uot;Oct. 31is traditionally a family-oriented holiday when children get to dress up and enjoy candy and other treats, and we just want to make sure they are safe and secure.&uot;

Together, Ferguson and Suffolk Police have generated a list of suggestions for parents and their children, and he offered information to help children and adults avoid problems on Halloween.

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&uot;In the city of Suffolk, it is unlawful for anyone over the age of 12 to participate in &uot;trick or treat’ and they certainly should not wear any type of mask,&uot; said Ferguson. &uot;Also, the hours for trick-or-treats end at 8 p.m. That means that all trick-or-treaters should be off the streets at 8.&uot;

Children should not be sent out alone, and they should be advised never to enter the house of a stranger, he added.

&uot;Children should be accompanied by a responsible adult, and the adults should carry flashlights so motorists can see them,&uot; said Ferguson. &uot;And, children should never take shortcuts through backyards or alleys and they should be cautioned not to stray away from their group or accompanying adult.&uot;

Ferguson said parents should be extremely careful with the &uot;loot&uot; the children collect on Halloween. He said they should never be allowed to eat any of the treats until they return home and treats have been examined in a well-lighted place.

&uot;Allow your children to eat only the candies that are in their original wrappers,&uot; said Ferguson. &uot;Also, all fruits should be cut and closely examined before allowing children to eat them. Anyone who makes homemade treats should give them only to children who know them, and no one should invite trick-or-treaters into their home unless they already know the children and their parents.

Police Chief William A. Freeman also suggested that parents as well as children should stay alert, stay safe and enjoy the Halloween holiday, but be careful.

&uot;Children should remember to use sidewalks in areas where possible,&uot; said Freeman. &uot;They should look in all directions before cross the streets, and they should be cautioned not to cross streets between parked cars, in the middle of the block or diagonally across an intersection.&uot;

The chief also noted that children should look in all directions before crossing streets.

Freeman said no one should carry any props or toys resembling any type of firearm or swords or knives. They could be mistaken for real weapons. He also said that no one should leave their home unattended on Halloween night and pets should be kept indoors or in a safe place.