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Sheriff McVicker Offers 46 Tips for a Safe Halloween; Harvest Festivities in the Area

Soon our streets will be scattered with little ghosts, goblins, and witches trick-or-treating this Halloween. “Halloween should be filled with surprise and enjoyment, and following some common-sense practices can keep events safer and more fun,” said Sheriff Jim McVicker.

The Sheriff reminds all Bladen County residents to follow these safety tips:

COVID-19:

  • Follow State and County health policies.
  • Limit participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door.
  • Halloween costume masks are not suitable to provide COVID-19 protection.
  • Promote the use of hand sanitizer by trick-or-treaters and their families.
  • Announce if there are any curfews in place.
  • Encourage social distancing.
  • Decline having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.
  • Do not attend crowded costume parties held indoors.
  • Avoid going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming.
  • Discourage going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household.

Motorists:

  • Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
  • At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.

Parents:

  •  Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
  • Check the sex offender registry at www.ncdoj.gov when planning your child’s trick-or-treat route. You can view maps that pinpoint registered offenders’ addresses in your neighborhood and sign up to get email alerts when an offender moves nearby.
  • Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older children’s companions.
  • Make sure older kids trick-or-treat in a group.
  • Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
  • Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger’s home.
  • Establish a return time.
  • Tell your youngsters not to eat any treats until they return home.
  • Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.
  • All children need to know their home telephone number and how to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency.
  • Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address, and telephone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

Costume Design:

  • Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes.
  • Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath.
  • Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard.
  • Make sure that shoes fit well to prevent trips and falls.
  • If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored materials. Strips of retro-reflective tape should be used to make children visible.

 

Face Design:

  • Do not use masks as they can obstruct a child’s vision. Use facial make-up instead.
  • When buying special Halloween makeup, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled “Made with U.S. Approved Color Additives,” “Laboratory Tested,” “Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics,” or “Non-Toxic.” Follow manufacturer’s instruction for application.
  • If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.

 

Accessories:

  • Knives, swords, and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
  • Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.
  • Carrying flashlights with fresh batteries will help children see better and be seen more clearly.

While Trick-or-Treating:

  • Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.
  • Walk; do not run, from house to house. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.
  • Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.
  • Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic, if there are no sidewalks.

Treats:

  • Give children an early meal before going out.
  • Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.
  • Wash fruit and slice it into small pieces.
  • Throw away any candy that is unwrapped or partially wrapped or has a strange odor, color, or texture.

Homeowners/Decorations:

  • Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.
  • Remove obstacles from lawns, steps, and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
  • Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from curtains, decorations, and other combustibles that could catch fire.
  • Do not leave your house unattended.

“Halloween is a fun time in Bladen County,” Sheriff Jim McVicker concluded, “but let’s make it a safe time as well. The major dangers are not from witches or spirits but rather from falls and pedestrian/car crashes.”

Some Halloween events for Bladen County are listed below. If you have an event you would like to announce, please email it to gm@bladenonline.com.

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