As parents begin to prepare for Halloween celebrations, their little trick-or-treaters should be mindful of their safety if they choose to go door-to-door for treats.
The Jacksonville Police Department has offered the following guidelines:
The best place to trick-or-treat is at public functions, such as church festivals or Trunk or Treat events.
However, if going house-to-house, never let children trick-or-treat without having an adult nearby at all times.
Only trick-or-treat in familiar neighborhoods that are well lit, and make sure children wear something reflective and bright so they are visible to drivers.
Carry a flashlight or light stick to allow others to see trick-or-treaters more visibly.
Have trick or treaters cross the road at designated crosswalks: Look left, then right, then left again before crossing the road when it's safe to do so.
Pay close attention to vehicles and traffic, keeping aware of when drivers back up or move forward in their vehicles.
If driving through neighborhoods where children are going door-to-door, travel slowly while watching for children. They are excited and may not be paying attention that well to traffic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggests trick-or-treaters:
Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Instead, travel in groups or with a trusted adult.
Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.
Eat only factory-wrapped treats and avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
Always test make-up in a small area before apply to check for irritation or allergic reaction. Thoroughly remove make-up after trick-or-treating.
Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.
Don't stop at dark houses.
Never accept rides from strangers.
Adults celebrating Halloween also must be mindful of their actions, because, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Services release, the period surrounding Halloween is “a particularly deadly night due to the high number of drunk drivers on the road.”
According to their data, last year 15 motorists lost their lives in alcohol-related accidents between Oct. 28 and Oct.31; the Saturday prior to the holiday was a particularly deadly night, with 10 Texans losing their lives in alcohol-related crashes.
Law enforcement agents reminded drivers that they will be watching for drunk drivers, who often are young men, who “ are particularly at risk of being involved in a traffic crash as a result of 'buzzed' or drunk driving,” the Texas AgriLife release read.
“With drunk driving, there’s no trick and there’s no treat,” said Cherokee County Extension Agent Wendi Green. “We want all our residents to remember that Halloween is about kids and trick-or-treating – not about seeing how much alcohol they can drink.”
Driving while impaired risks not only the safety of the person operating the vehicle, but those around the driver as well, the release stated. Additionally, “the legal and financial costs of driving while impaired can be significant.
“Drunk driving violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, use of an ignition interlock, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work,” it stated.
Information on free alcohol awareness programs available through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Watch UR BAC program in College Station is available through the university website, www.watchurbac.tamu.edu, or call 979-862-1911 to learn more.