The ghosts, goblins, ghouls and other such scary figures will be out in full force Thursday night, October 31 as Halloween is here once again.
In an attempt to keep all the smaller children who enjoy the night collecting candy and other goodies safe, the City of Albany has once again designated trick-or-treat hours between 5 and 8 p.m.
Parents and guardians who take their children out trick-or-treating on Thursday are asked to observe the designated hours. Also, persons who wish to accept Halloween visitors are asked to keep their outside lights lit and their yards, sidewalks and areas around their homes clear of debris to help prevent accidental falls.
Residents in the county are also urged to observe the 5-8 p.m. time to trick-or-treat.
For the second year in a row, the city council has designated a central location area on the southwest side of the Albany square to allow “booths” to be set up for persons who wish to pass out candy and treats to youngsters in a centralized location. It also gives trick-or-treaters who may not wish to travel as much collecting Halloween treats to get a lot of goodies at one stop.
Other than the downtown area that will be roped off to allow people to set up spaces to take trick-or-treaters, there are also other safe related events, such as some church locations, that will offer Halloween parties in lieu of the door-to-door trick-or-treating.
As always, safety of young (and older) children alike cannot be overstated, thus once again safety precautions that can help keep your child safe on Halloween is being published, as follows.
HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS
* Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
* Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
* Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
* Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
* Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as close to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
* Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out in the street or cross between parked cars.
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 a familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
Keep 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 glowsticks 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.
Drive Extra Safe on Halloween
* 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.
* Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
Other important precautions:
– Children should never, ever go into a stranger’s house or even ring their door unless parents (or an adult) is with them and says it’s okay. And never get into a stranger’s vehicle.
– If you drive and are taking a bunch of friends to a party, make sure you have enough gas to get there.
– If your parents give you a curfew, be home when they say. If you are going to be late, call them and let them know.
– Vandalism is never cool! Throwing eggs at cars, houses or businesses is not cool. Someone has to clean it up and it could be you if you get caught. You can also be arrested and punished as a juvenile. Think about how you would feel if someone did that to your house and how bad it would make you feel.
– Hurting animals is never acceptable behavior! Some people use Halloween to hurt cats and that is just wrong! Not only is it illegal to hurt or torture animals, it is punishable by law.
– Plan a safe route so parents know where their older kids will be at all times. Set a time for their return and make sure the child is old enough to go out by themselves and make sure they have a cell phone.
– Let your children know not to cut through back alleys and fields if they are out alone.
– Instruct your children not to eat any treats until they bring them home to be examined. This way you can check for any problem candy.
– Let children know they should stick together as a group if going out trick-or–treating without an adult.
– Don’t use a cell phone or other electronic device while driving.
– Drive below the posted speed limit in residential areas.
– If driving, pay extra attention to crosswalks, intersections and the side of the road.
– Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway, they could be dropping off children.
– If you are dropping off or picking up kids in an area, pull off the road into a safe spot and turn on your hazard lights to alert other motorists.
Halloween is also a night when child predators are looking for victims. Let your child know that they should never get into the car of a stranger at any time. If someone stops them and asks for help or offers them candy, tell them to scream as loud as they can and run.
Remember, designated trick-or-treat hours at 5-8 p.m. Have a fun and safe Halloween.
(The City of Albany is publishing a Resolution for safe Halloween Trick-or-Treating and that resolution is published this week in the legal section of the Clinton County News.)