By Frank Lewis
Before you take those ghosts, goblins, and super-heroes out for trick or treat, you should plan to take all the steps necessary to keep your child safe. Halloween tips should be shared with the kids prior to leaving on the night’s adventure. Those tips include – walk safely; cross the street at corners using traffic signals and crosswalks; look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Electronic devices should be put down and you should keep your head up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said children should be taught to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them and they should always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, the child should always walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
“Following the Halloween safety tips provided by Safe Kids Worldwide will greatly increase the safety of our children during trick or treat activities,” Ware said.
Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings and watch for cars that are turning or backing up. In addition, children should be taught to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
As always, Ware said, it is always best for children to trick or treat with an adult. Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick or treat in groups.
You should keep trick or treat costumes both creative and safe. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers. When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
Wares also has tips for drivers on trick or treat night. Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully. Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings and drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
“The Portsmouth Police Department encourages residents to use caution during trick or treat activities,” Ware said. “We want this to be a joyous occasion for our youth and their parents. Remaining safe is key to creating fond memories. Motorists are especially reminded to be alert for small children who might be over excited and fail to use caution when entering the roadway.”
The City of Portsmouth, New Boston and Scioto County trick or treat hours are 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29. Greenup County, Kentucky trick or treaters will take to the streets Oct. 31 – 6-8 p.m. and Piketon is scheduled for Oct. 31 from 5-6 p.m.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.