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Rowan Sheriff’s offers Halloween safety tips

ROWAN — Soon our streets will be scattered with little ghosts, goblins, and witches trick-or-treating this Halloween.

“Halloween should be filled with surprise and enjoyment and following some common-sense practices can keep events safer and more fun,” said Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten.

Auten reminds all Rowan County residents to follow these safety tips:

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 children under age 12.
• Check the sex offender registry at www.ncdoj.gov when planning your child’s trick-or-treat route.  You can view maps that pinpoint registered offenders’ addresses in your neighborhood and sign up to get email alerts when an offender moves nearby.
• Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older children’s companions.
• Make sure older kids trick-or-treat in a group.
• 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 treats until they return home.
• Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.
• All children need to know their home telephone number and how to call 9-1-1 in case of an emergency.
• Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address, and telephone 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.
• Make sure that shoes fit well to prevent trips and falls.
• 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:
• 
Do not use masks as they can obstruct a child’s vision. Use facial make-up instead.
• When buying special Halloween makeup, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled “Made with U.S. Approved Color Additives,” “Laboratory Tested,” “Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics,” or “Non-Toxic.” Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for application.
• 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-colored or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.
• Carrying flashlights with fresh batteries will help children see better and be seen more clearly.

While Trick-or-Treating:

• 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:
Give children an early meal before going out.
• Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.
• Wash fruit and slice it into small pieces.
• Throw away any candy that is unwrapped or partially wrapped or has a strange odor, color, or texture.

Homeowners/Decorations:

• Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.
• Remove obstacles from lawns, steps, and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
• Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from curtains, decorations, and other combustibles that could catch fire.
• Do not leave your house unattended.

“Halloween is a fun time in Rowan County,” Sheriff Auten concluded, “but let’s make it a safe time as well.  The major dangers are not from witches or spirits but rather from falls and pedestrian/car crashes.”

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