Cook County Connections: Halloween SafetyOct 31, 2023 09:05AM ● By Content Editor
From Cook County, Minnesota - October 28, 2022
Editor's note: This post from 2022 still has great tips and advice for keeping your trick-or-treaters safe tonight.
By: Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen
Halloween is one of the most anticipated times of year for many, including the kids who go door to door collecting treats. Staff from the Sheriff’s Office will be patrolling to enhance public safety, but there are also steps that you can take to help ensure a positive evening for the children.
Beginning with the most basic of Halloween traditions, the first safety tip is costume accessories. Look for light-colored, flame-resistant costumes and other components that are labeled as flame-resistant or made of flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon. Also choose light-colored costumes when possible since they’re easier for drivers to spot at night. Use safe accessories made of soft materials that won't cause injury if your child falls on them. Try to complete the treat-gathering before it gets dark or equip the trick-or treaters with glow sticks or glow bracelets if they cannot safely carry flashlights.
Moving on to considerations with decorations, set up your decorations so they don't interfere with the flow of foot traffic. Also secure any outdoor inflatables so they don't present a tripping hazard and keep the path from your driveway and walkway clear. Don't overload your electrical circuits or use multiple extension cords when you're plugging in decorations.
If you are driving your kids around, it would be a great help to have a “spotter” in the passenger seat. Drivers can be distracted by decorations, kids on the street, kids in the back seat, cell phones, etc. Having someone who specifically looks for kids darting into the street or running out from between parked vehicles can be a great benefit. Only use your low-beam lights so oncoming traffic has the best possible vantage of the street and pedestrians.
Try to complete the treat-gathering before it gets dark or equip the trick-or treaters with glow sticks or glow bracelets if they cannot safely carry flashlights. Instruct the kids to cross streets at corners and do not run out from in between parked cars for added safety. If there are no sidewalks present and it is not feasible to walk on the inside of parked cars, instruct the kids to walk against the flow of traffic so they can view possible hazards in front of them.
There will always be some folks who want to hand out homemade treats and for the most part, they are safe. Tampering is rare, but it does happen. Look for any tears in wrappers, tiny pinholes, or anything that looks discolored or unusual. Throw out anything that isn't commercially wrapped unless it's a homemade treat from someone you personally know well. If your child has a food allergy, read the ingredient label of commercially wrapped treats to make sure it doesn't contain any allergens. Skip homemade treats, since you can't be sure of what they contain. Only visit homes that have porch lights on and if you witness a potentially unsafe or dangerous situation, please call the Sheriff’s Office using the numbers below.
County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service.