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Halloween Safety Tips for Newton Trick-or-Treaters

Families should be extra cautious this year, as Hurricane Sandy left plenty of downed trees, wires and branches.

Although some streets are a mess and thousands of residents are still without power, there will be plenty of Newton trick-or-treaters out roaming the streets tonight for Halloween. 

During a press conference yesterday, Mayor Setti Warren urged residents to use "extreme caution" while out and about tonight. There are a number of downed trees in the streets and on the sidewalks that could be energized from live wires.

The Newton Police Department issued a press release Tuesday afternoon reminding residents to "Be Cautious, Be Safe and Be Wise":

If you are driving tomorrow tonight, "Be Cautious" and mindful of those children, who are thinking of those treats. Assume children won’t be looking when they cross the road. Drive very slowly in case you have to stop suddenly.

If you are a parent or are responsible for children going out, "Be Safe" with their safety. Make sure they’re wearing reflective gear and costumes that don’t hinder their vision. Remind children to absolutely NOT go near or touch any downed wires or trees!

"Be Wise" and don’t let any children fall or slip on your property. Clean all walkways of debris and any hazards that may exist. Turn on outside lights. Even if you aren’t giving out treats, children may still come to your door.

If residents spot something tonight that needs police attention (a live wire that is not blocked off, for example) they can call dispatch 617-796-2100. All emergencies should be directed to 911. 

In addition, the Mayor's Crime Prevention Commission and Newton Police Department issued a list of Halloween safety tips for trick-or-treaters. Make sure you read through these before heading out tonight:

Mayor’s Halloween Safety Tips: 

Trick-or-Treaters 

1. Carry a flashlight and walk, don't run. 

2. Stay on sidewalks; obey traffic signals. 

3. Stay in familiar neighborhoods. 

4. Don't cut across yards or driveways. 

5. Wear a watch you can read in the dark. 

6. Make sure costumes don't drag on the ground. 

7. Shoes should fit (even if they don't go with your costume). 

8. Avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house. 

9. Carry only flexible knives, swords or other props. 

10. (lf no sidewalk) walk on left side of the road facing traffic. 

11. Wear clothing with reflective markings/tape. 

12. Approach only houses that are lit. 

13. Stay away from and don't pet animals you don't know. 

Parents

1. Make sure your child eats dinner before setting out. 

2. Children should carry quarters so they can call home or consider the pluses/minuses of a cell phone. 

3. Ideally, an adult should accompany young children of any age. 

4. If your children go on their own, be sure they wear a watch, preferably one that can be read in the dark. 

5. lf you buy a costume, look for one made of flame- retardant material. 

6. Older children should know where to reach you and when they need to be home. 

7. You should know where they're going. 

8. Although tampering is rare, tell children to bring candy home to be inspected before consuming anything. 

9. Look at the wrapping carefully and toss out anything that looks suspect. 

Homeowners

1. Make sure your yard is clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes, flower pots, etc. that can trip young ones. 

2. Pets get frightened on Halloween. Put them someplace to protect them from cars or inadvertently biting a trick-or-treater. 

3. Battery powered jack o'lantern candles are preferable to a real flame. If you do use candles, place the pumpkin well away from were trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing. Make sure paper or cloth yard decorations won't be blown into a flaming candle. 

4. Healthy food alternatives for trick-or-treaters include pre-packaged low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, mini boxes of raisins and single-serve packets of low-fat popcorn that can be microwaved later. Non-food treats: plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, coins, etc. 

BEFORE HALLOWEEN: 

1. Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit I well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame. 

2. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility. 

3. Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloweenattire or on a bracelet. Not on the outside of clothing where anyone can see it. 

4. Because a mask can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic and hypoallergenic makeup or a decorative hat as a safe alternative. 

5. When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories purchase only those with a label indicating they are flame resistant. 

6. Think twice before using simulated knives, guns or swords. If such props must be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury. 

7. Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts. 

8. Plan ahead to use only battery powered lanterns or chemical lightsticks in place of candles in decorations and costumes. 

9. This is also a great time to buy fresh batteries for your smoke alarms. 

This alert provided by: Frank Wolpe, Chair, George Cullen, Member, Mayor’s Crime Prevention Commission working with David Cullen, President, Intelligence Security International (ISI)

Teri DeMarco October 31, 2012 at 03:04 PM
What time does trick or treating generally start?
Melanie Graham (Editor) October 31, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Hi Teri -- I think that Newton parents would likely have a better idea than I, so I will defer to them for a better answer. But, the mayor recommended going out before it gets too dark. Sundown is at 5:38 p.m. tonight, so I would expect trick-or-treating to start around 5:30-6? Again, just a guess. Newton parents -- what time do you generally start trick-or-treating?

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