WINCHESTER – It’s Halloween, and the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry (SD&G) OPP is reminding parents and motorists to focus on the safety of children partaking in this anticipated evening.

Officers will be out in full force promoting the safety of “Trick or Treaters” and residents of our communities.

Mischief – as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada – not only applies to damaging or destroying of property, but also interfering with the lawful use and enjoyment of property. While some people feel that Halloween is an evening for “pranks,” many of these “pranks” do qualify as mischief and can result in the responsible person(s) facing criminal offences. This can result in court appearances and if convicted – a criminal record.

Motorists

• Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.

• Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.

• Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.

• At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.

Parents

• Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for younger children.

• Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older children’s companions.

• Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.

• Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger’s home.

• Establish a return time.

• Tell your youngsters not to eat any treat until they return home.

• Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.

• Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

Costume design

• Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes.

• Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath.

• Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard. (Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween.)

• If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored materials. Strips of retro reflective tape should be used to make children visible.

Face design

• Masks can obstruct a child’s vision. Use facial make-up instead.

• If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.

Accessories

• Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.

• Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-coloured or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark

• Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.

Children

• Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.

• Walk,  do not run, from house to house. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.

• Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.

• Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic if there are no sidewalks.

Treats

• Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.

• When in doubt, throw it out.

By following the above tips and using common sense you will not only have a scary Halloween but a safe one too!