TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Thousands of kids across Western New York will be heading door-to-door for trick-or-treat fun, but officials across our area are urging everyone to keep safety in mind for a safe and happy Halloween night.
If you’re not careful, things can get scary fast.
“Anywhere from 3 to 9 p.m. you have to expect that there’s going to be a lot of kids out and about. Slow down. I’d say even as less as 5 miles an hour because the kids are not thinking about cars in the roadway and we don’t want any accidents or something you have to live with for the rest of your life,” said Trooper James O’Callaghan, Public Information Officer for Troop A of the New York State Police.
Obviously, it’s important for adults to watch out for their kids as they’re trick-or-treating, but law enforcement officers around the area will also be out in force, keeping a close eye on things, too. “Pumpkin Patrol – not only we look for DWIs, we look for vehicles that could possibly endanger other people on the roadway, but we also look for possible vandalism,” Trooper O’Callaghan said.
Buffalo police say community police officers will be out patrolling streets and neighborhoods in every section of the city, and officers and peacemakers will be attending organized events around the city.
Buffalo officials recommend a cut-off time of 8 p.m. for trick-or-treating to minimize the safety risks that occur when older kids go door-to-door until late at night.
The mayor further recommends keeping your porch lights on for the duration of the trick-or-treat period, even if you’re out of candy or are choosing not to participate. “This is an open invitation for vandalism and mischief,” he said in a written statement ahead of Halloweed. “Instead, keep your house well-lit and post the sign that you are out of candy.”
A big part of Halloween safety comes down to costume choices. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office offers this costume advice:
- Fake knives, swords, guns, and other costume accessories can potentially cause injury. Make sure they aren’t too long for the costume and review with your child that they are part of the costume and not a weapon.
- Keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
- Try using make-up instead of a mask.
- Costumes with light colors and/or reflective tape are best. Someone in the group should carry a flashlight. Consider putting reflective tape on their bags too.
The students at St. Amelia school in Tonawanda got a chance to show off their costumes early this Halloween. The whole school day is full of Halloween activities to get them into the spooky spirit, and to make sure they’re all comfortable with the Halloween fun. We know, especially with the littlest kids, some parts of the holiday can be overwhelming.
“We try to tell them it’s all pretend, ahead of time, and the parents should do the same,” said Pre-K Teacher Colleen Milette. “Tell them it’s pretend before they go out so they’re not afraid.”
Of course, there are some costumes that scare some adults too. Clowns will likely be a popular costume this year, and State Police want to make sure people don’t freak out. “Just because someone is wearing a clown outfit does not automatically make them a criminal or a suspect in some sort of investigation. Don’t call 911 just because they’re in a clown outfit,” Trooper O’Callaghan said.
“If you see anybody in any costume doing something that you deem suspicious or criminal, like inviting your kid into a vehicle for candy, or inviting them into a residence for candy, definitely call 911, call the police. That’s what we’re there for and we can look into that,” he added.
The Sheriff’s Office advises parent to plan out their family’s trick-or-treating route and check that against the sex offender registry.
The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision will impose special conditions and closely monitor supervised sex offenders to ensure the safety of children on Halloween.
Approximately 3,000 sex offenders under supervision will be contacted by their Parole Officer on Halloween night. As part of the Operation Halloween, the Department has imposed the following special conditions on sex offenders:
- Beginning in the early afternoon on Halloween, or immediately following the end of their work day or completion of an approved community program, all sex offender parolees are to remain in their residence until 6 a.m. the following morning.
- Sex Offender Parolees cannot open their doors, distribute candy or partake in the act of “trick-or-treating.”
- Sex Offender Parolees cannot wear any costume, mask or other disguises.