Officials offer tips for Halloween safety

County and state officials want to remind residents, especially parents, to be safe when celebrating Halloween.

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Officials recommend that children use glow sticks or flashlights while trick-or-treating so that drivers can see them.

“Halloween is generally an entertaining holiday to dress up and have fun with family and friends,” State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay said in a state press release. “But not paying attention can be dangerous, and nobody wants to look back and think: ‘Nobody would have been hurt if only we’d been more careful’.”

Solobay said children should use glow sticks or flashlights so drivers can see them, and they should always be accompanied by an adult while trick-or-treating. Adults should stay engaged with the kids they’re with and not allow themselves to be distracted by a cellphone or other electronic device. Only cross the street at a crosswalk or at the corner, never in the middle of the block, the release said.

Solobay also suggested using makeup and face paint for little ones rather than a mask, which can block a child’s vision and make it hard for them to see obstacles or other dangers in their path. All costumes should be properly sized to avoid tripping or falling.

Echoing those recommendations, East Marlborough Police Chief Robert Clarke added some others for parents, including mapping out a route ahead of time to ensure that children never enter a stranger's home. Having trick-or-treaters travel in groups reduces their risk of becoming a target for someone with bad intentions.

Finally, to ensure the safety of a neighborhood, Clarke said parents can check the Pennsylvania State Police Megan’s Law database at http://www.pameganslaw.state.pa.us/, which alerts the public to homes with registered sex offenders.

For drivers, officials urge taking steps to eliminate distractions in their vehicles so they can fully focus on driving and staying alert for children, who can move erratically or unpredictably when excited on Halloween. Drive slowly, and use extra caution when entering and exiting driveways, the release said.

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