SIDNEY — It’s time for the witches, ghosts and goblins to hit the streets for annual Halloween events.
“We want everyone to have fun and to be safe,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart during his weekly interview.
Lenhart said no matter what time the trick-or-treat event is being held there are safety tips for the costumed kids and drivers.
For the children going trick-or-treating, Lenhart has the following safety tips:
• Always cross the street at the corner. Use the crosswalks and look left and right before crossing the street.
“Many of the fire departments, police departments and our office will be out making sure everyone stays safe,” said Lenhart.
• Walk on the sidewalk if there’s one. If there’s not a sidewalk and you have to walk in the street, always walk facing the traffic so you can see the vehicles and the drivers can see you.
• Watch for cars that are backing up or turning.
• Don’t dart out into the street.
• Don’t be talking on your cellphone as you are walking. If it’s dark, the flashlight from your cellphone can be used while walking. Children and adults should also carry a flashlight to help see where they are going.
• Children under the age of 12 should trick-of-treat with a parent or adult. Those older than 12 should go trick-or-treating in groups of three or more.
• Only go to houses where the porch light is on.
• Use face paint or makeup instead of masks as part of your costume.
• If you have props, use items that are short and flexible.
• Always carry a flashlight.
• Avoid oversized clothes and shoes as children might trip on them.
• Don’t wear different colored contact lenses while trick-or-treating.
“A high percentage of kids get hurt during trick-or-treating,” said Lenhart.
And he also has some tips for people driving vehicles during trick-or-treat.
• Slow down and look for kids at the intersections.
• Slow down when approaching alleyways as a child might dart out.
• Get rid of distractions such as cellphones and loud music from the vehicle’s radio.
• Drive with the car’s headlights on so the trick-or-treaters can see the vehicle easier.
“The older I get, the more health conscious I become,” said Lenhart. “Give popcorn or trail mix as trick-or-treat items. Dried fruit also works.”
Before any treats are eaten, he said, all the items should be inspected at home.If any commercially wrapped candy looks like it’s been opened, just throw it away, he said.
He said McCartyville will hold its trick-or-treat afternoon on Oct. 27 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Another event is planned in Pemberton.
“Pemberton has theirs on Oct. 31 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.,” said Lenhart. “The parking lot at the old school will serve as a trunk or treat location. Residents are encouraged to park at the parking lot and hand out candy. A pizza truck also comes in and makes pizza for the kids.”
Lenhart said his office has received an avalanche of phone calls about scams concerning the Social Security Office and Apple computer.
“These are all fictitious calls,” said Lenhart. “Don’t answer them or if you do, hang up as soon as they start their message.”
Lenhart also reminded farmers and drivers to respect each other during the harvest season.
“I’ve seen a number of farmer friends on the roads without a slow moving vehicle sign on their tractor or trailer,” he said. “Also, some of them are so faded, you can tell what they are. Others are dust covered and need cleaned off.”
He said if a crash happens — and the sign is not visible — the farmer is just as responsible for the crash as the other driver.
“To my city friends, you need to be on the lookout for that (signs obscured),” he said.
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.