Sheriff offers Halloween safety tips

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 26, 2004

WINTON – The countdown is on for one of the rites of childhood – trick-or-treating during Halloween.

Soon, Roanoke-Chowan area streets and rural roadways will be scattered little ghosts, goblins and witches, all with one goal in mind – filling their bags with goodies. In order to make sure that Halloween – 2004 is enjoyable and safe for all involved, Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan offers invaluable safety tips.

The Sheriff first addressed the costumes worn by these young adventurers.

&uot;Face paint is preferred over using a costume mask for the reason that a mask partially blocks the vision of those wearing one,&uot; he noted. &uot;If a parent chooses a costume with a mask, please make sure they have adequate holes to allow for peripheral vision as well as for adequate respiration.&uot;

Because of the hours that most area towns and county governments will allow children to use for trick-or-treating, Sheriff Vaughan warned that darkness poses another danger for youngsters. In rural portions of Hertford County as well as each of the county’s municipalities, trick-or-treating hours are 6-8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31. Bertie and Northampton County officials have opted for a Saturday trick-or-treating date. See Thursday’s edition for a town-by-by breakdown of times and dates.

&uot;All trick-or-treaters should wear some sort of reflective clothing, carry a bright orange bag and carry a flashlight or glow stick in order to make it easier for passing cars to spot them as they walk along a street or rural road,&uot; said the Sheriff. &uot;And as a reminder, trick-or-treaters should use the same rule of thumb that applies to all pedestrians – walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.&uot;

Sheriff Vaughan added that young children should travel in pairs or in groups at all times and never venture down a dark, empty street. Parents or supervising adults should accompany very young children. For the parents of older children, they should know the route their trick-or-treaters are following.

Additionally, children should always walk together to the front door of each house. Avoid running across yards or streets. Dark, unlighted houses should be avoided.

As another safety precaution, Sheriff Vaughan advised parents or guardians to instruct their children to not eat any candy until arriving back home.

&uot;Parents should closely inspect all candy,&uot; he stressed. &uot;Throw away all unwrapped candy or any suspicious looking goodies. If your child does become sick, try to determine what made them that way and from where did it come. Call your doctor or the hospital emergency room immediately and save all (candy) wrappers.&uot;

Fire hazards are another concern for the Sheriff.

&uot;Please remember that jack-o-lanterns and any other electrical decorations can be a fire hazard,&uot; he said. &uot;Keep them out of the reach of small children and away from flammable materials such as draperies, furniture and paper decorations. Do not leave your house unattended.&uot;

The Sheriff concluded by saying, &uot;Halloween is a fun time in Hertford County, but let’s make it a safe time as well.&uot;