Halloween arrives: Be safe

Published 10:51 am Friday, October 31, 2008

Everyone wants Halloween to be a safe and happy event for all.

Count Austin Police Chief Paul Philipp among them.

“Be safe for Halloween,” is the police chief’s cautionary note. “Parents should always check candy before kids get to eat it.”

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“Wear costumes that are safe,” he continued. “Preferably ones that don’t cover the eyes and ones that are bright-colored so motorists can see them.”

“We certainly recommend that parents travel with kids or a group of kids so that they can stay safe and some one can observe what’s happening.”

The police chief has made the informal speech before, when the annual Halloween fun arrives, and today is no exception.

In recent years, Halloween safety has become a growing concern in communities everywhere.

“Unfortunately, it’s sad that kids can’t enjoy Halloween like adults used to enjoy it,” he said.

Halloween safety experts have a list of tips for families:

Help your child pick out or make a costume that will be safe. Make it fire proof, the eye holes should be large enough for good peripheral vision.

If you set jack-o-lanterns on your porch with candles in them, make sure that they are far enough out of the way so that kids costumes won’t accidentally be set on fire.

Make sure that if your child is carrying a prop, such as a scythe, butcher knife or a pitchfork, that the tips are smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on.

Kids always want to help with the pumpkin carving. Small children shouldn’t be allowed to use a sharp knife to cut the top or the face. There are many kits available that come with tiny saws that work better then knives and are safer, although you can be cut by them as well. It’s best to let the kids clean out the pumpkin and draw a face on it, which you can carve for them.

Treating your kids to a spooky Halloween dinner will make them less likely to eat the candy they collect before you have a chance to check it for them.

Teaching your kids basic everyday safety such as not getting into cars or talking to strangers, watching both ways before crossing streets and crossing when they are out trick or treating.

The fun begins after dark, when porch lights are turned on around the city and countryside.

The Austin Police Department welcomes parents to bring “suspicious” candy or other items children receive tonight to the police station for inspection by officers.

“If they got some suspicious candy, they can talk to a police officer about where they got it, and we will try to run it down,” he said.

Motorists are also advised to exercise extra caution after dark, when children are running the streets in search of treats.

If everyone fills their role, it will be a safe, happy and fun-filled Halloween for all.