Keep safety in mind this coming Halloween

Published 8:18 pm Friday, October 22, 2021

With Halloween just around the corner, officials are hoping participants will keep safety in mind.

According to Austin Police Capt. Todd Clennon, pedestrian vs. car accidents are one of the most common causes of injury on Halloween.  

“Make sure all participants are clearly visible and aware of their surroundings,” Clennon said. “Try to avoid heavily traveled roads, and if you are driving, pay special attention for trick or treaters and slow down. Reflective tape, glow sticks, and battery powered flashlights will greatly increase visibility for pedestrians.”

Clennon encourages trick or treaters to note if a house’s porch light is on.

“In Austin, as most places, a porch light being on indicates a homeowner’s willingness to participate on Halloween,” he said. “If a front light or porch light is not on, please respect the homeowner’s property and decision to not participate.”

Clennon also offered the following safety tips:

• Keep your pets under control; dogs can knock small children down or trip people with leashes and chains.   

• Children under 12 should always be accompanied by an adult while trick or treating.

• Older children should communicate their routes and time frames with parents and other responsible adults.  

• Candy and other goodies should be inspected by adults upon returning home and prior to consumption.

“The Austin Police Department wishes all Halloween participants a safe and happy Halloween,” Clennon said. “As always, our officers will be out patrolling the community this Halloween assisting our community in keeping Halloween a safe and enjoyable night for the residents of Austin.”

With COVID-19 still impacting our community, Community Health Division Manager Pam Kellogg offers the following safety tips:

• Ideally, all adults who are eligible to receive the vaccine should get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect those who cannot get vaccinated.

• Outdoor activities are preferred over indoors.

• Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.

• If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips for Halloween safety:

• Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.

• Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement, or contact with flame.

• Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. .

• Never enter a home or car for a treat. Notify law enforcement authorities immediately about any suspicious or unlawful activity.

• Know how to reduce your child’s risk of a pedestrian injury―the most common injury to children on Halloween.

• Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.

• Carry a cell phone 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 (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out of driveways.

• Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters; just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will.