Sheriff Knight Shares Halloween Safety Tips

                                                                                                               NEWS RELEASE #: 16-196 - OCTOBER 28, 2016

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office wants all children to enjoy a safe and fun Halloween, so please consider the following safety reminders as you head out for the holiday.

• Always trick-or-treat in groups.
• Never allow small children to visit a door without a trusted adult present.
• Remind children to never go inside someone's home for candy.
• Teach children not to approach cars.
• Only approach well-lit homes where porch or exterior lights are ON.
• Cross streets at the corner, never between parked cars and not diagonally across an intersection.
• Avoid taking shortcuts through backyards, alleys, and parks.
• Make sure at least one child has a cell phone and that emergency numbers are programmed and easy to access.
• Eat only factory-wrapped treats and NEVER eat anything homemade from strangers.
• Examine all candy for choking hazards and tampering before allowing children to have any.
• Be cautious around pets and other animals.
• Take a photo of children in their costumes BEFORE trick-or-treating; this will help law enforcement should your child become separated.
• Keep costumes short to prevent children from tripping or falling.
• Make sure masks or head coverings do not hinder eyesight or breathing.
• Try to wear light-colored costumes or add reflective tape to dark clothing.
• Have children carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen.
• Report any and all suspicious activity or persons to law enforcement immediately.

Citizens should always keep doors locked, even if you are just "out front" handing out candy, to prevent burglars from taking advantage of the holiday. Some may use tick-or-treating as a way to scope out a home, so be mindful of what is visible from the outside when you open your front door.

Another way to ensure the safety of trick-or-treaters is to attend public, organized events. Instead of visiting unfamiliar neighborhoods, consider Halloween or fall festivals at malls, churches, or events sponsored by local businesses.