Date: October 17, 2001 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact: Michal Shanley, (863) 534-6631 or 819-0397 pager

Halloween Safety Tips

During this time of extreme caution and sensitivity to threats, the Polk County Sheriff's Office would like to urge parents to keep an extra careful eye on children this Halloween. The Sheriff's Office strongly recommends that parents consider safer alternatives to trick-or-treating, such as attending supervised Halloween events. Civic clubs, school groups, merchants and recreation centers often provide organized Halloween/Fall parties and festivals.  If parents do decide to allow children to trick-or-treat, they should take their children trick-or-treating only at residences where the neighbors are well known.  Parents should carefully monitor their children's activities and adhere to the following safety tips:
 
* As a parent, supervise young children who trick-or-treat. Participate in the festivities yourself by walking with your children.
* Parents and children are encouraged to walk in groups. Children should walk - not run - from house to house. Trick-or-treaters should stay away from busy streets.
* Parents and children should go only to well-known homes, and never enter inside residences.
* Place reflective safety tape on children's costumes and treat bags. Carry working flashlights.
* Inspect children's candy before any is eaten. Throw away any unwrapped treats.
* Care should be used with a child's costume. Make sure masks do not obscure a child's vision. Consider using cosmetics for a natural mask. To avoid tripping, make sure the costume is not too long and high heels are not worn.
* Props for costumes - such as swords, knives, etc. - should be soft and flexible replicas, not the real thing.
* When driving, be especially careful and watch out for children trick-or-treating.

With correct supervision, children can safely participate in the Halloween holiday traditions. Parents are encouraged to take responsibility and use care. A little extra time can make a difference in ensuring a safe and enjoyable holiday for all.

XXX

Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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