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Drive slowly and watch out for costumed children

Tips for keeping trick-or-treaters out of danger

POSTED: October 31, 2013 6:12 p.m.

Whether you’re an active participant in trick-or-treating, or just on the roads this evening, police are urging residents to be cautious on Halloween.

“Sadly, Halloween is a dangerous night. While excited trick-or-treaters may forget the rules of the road and be oblivious to the hazards, the motoring public must be vigilant,” said Cpl. Joe Britte, spokesman for the Gainesville Police Department.

“On Halloween, local neighborhoods will literally be swarming with children,” Britte said. “It’s the community’s job to be sure they take their treats home safely.”

In efforts to look spooky, kids could be making themselves more vulnerable to the true horror of an accident, Britte said.

“For motorists, the scariest part of Halloween are children dressed in dark colors and in costumes that cover their eyes while walking the streets at dusk,” Britte said. “Motorists are often rushed and in a hurry to get to their destination.”

To ensure the fun and safety of everyone on Halloween, Britte encouraged drivers to be especially mindful while behind the wheel — which means putting the cellphone down.

He also advised driving slower than the posted speed limit, while keeping an eye on sidewalk activity.

Britte said drivers can’t assume children will be paying attention, and to be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.

The American Red Cross of Northeast Georgia has tips as well. The group advised trick-or-treaters to wear high-visibility clothing.

Wearing light colors and reflective tape are ways to be seen by motorists and be safe, Executive Director Joni Smith said in a news release.

Parents also can take steps for safety, she said.

“Plan the trick-or-treat route and make sure adults know where children are going,” Smith said. “A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children as they make their way around the neighborhood.”

Smith also said those hosting trick-or-treaters on their doorstep can take steps to keep the neighborhood kids safe, such as sweeping leaves from the sidewalk and steps and clearing other obstacles.

And although Halloween may mean flashy light displays, Smith advised using a glowstick — rather than a candle — in jack-o-lanterns, as well as wearing flame-resistant costumes.


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