Be safe this Halloween

Published 9:58 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Halloween is creeping up on us this week, and a city press release has some essential advice for families to stay safe during their spooky activities.

According to the press release, trick-or-treating on Oct. 31 in Suffolk is for ages 12 and younger, and trick-or-treating ends at 8 p.m.

The Suffolk Police Department and Fire and Rescue have some safety tips for when your children are out and about in costume:

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective, make sure that shoes fit well and that these costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes, and makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day, then removed in the evening to avoid possible skin irritation.
  • When shopping for costumes, look for wigs and accessories that are flame-resistant, according to their labels.
  • If a sword, cane or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be hurt by these accessories if they stumble or trip.
  • Review with your children how to call 911 if they have an emergency or become lost.

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The following advice is for those that plan to carve pumpkins this year:

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers or use washable kids’ paint, instead.
  • Consider using a flashlight, battery operated candle, or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, then a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should never be left unattended, and should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects — not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by.

The following are home safety tips for visiting trick-or-treaters this year:

  • Parents should remove from their porch and front yard anything a child could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets.

The following is advice for when trick-or-treaters are walking about with their parents or guardians:

  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Wait to eat any treats until after they can be safely inspected at home in a well-lit setting.

Pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, so heed the following:

  • Stay in a group and communicate where you are going.
  • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
  • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks where available.
  • Never cross between parked cars.
  • Never assume you have the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops doesn’t mean others will.
  • If a person, vehicle or situation seems suspicious, act on your gut instinct and call the non-emergency number, 923-2350, and let an officer investigate. If you believe a crime is occurring, call 911 immediately.

For adults who may have too much to drink, AAA Tidewater is offering its Tipsy Tow service from 9 p.m. on Oct. 31 until 6 a.m. on Jan. 1. The service is available to anyone, whether they are a AAA member or not, and is provided in the Greater Hampton Roads area. The AAA tow truck will take the vehicle and the driver home. Those in need of this service should call 1-800-AAA-HELP and tell the dispatcher “I need a Tipsy Tow.” The service excludes rides for passengers, and the destination is limited to the driver’s residence.