October 31 is one of the most anticipated nights of the year for many kids. Thoughts of candy, getting to stay out late, parties at school, and a chance to be a superhero for a night are all innocent thoughts in a child’s mind. However, for adults, we see the sinister side behind all the sugary treats and silly scares. A night full of masked strangers makes us a little jumpy — and justifiably so. Many states report higher crime rates on Halloween night. Boston officials stated that violent crimes soar 50 percent higher on October 31 than any other night of the year. Most Halloween night crime is petty — destruction of property and vandalism, but more serious crimes such as burglary, assault and theft also spike on All Hallows Eve. Are you planning to let the little ones trick-or-treat this year? If so, consider our safety tips compiled from various law enforcement agencies from around the country for a safe and fun Halloween night.
- Plan your route in a familiar neighborhood. Take note of any registered sex offenders’ homes and avoid them.
- Start out early; that way you will not have to be out too long past dark.
- Go in groups with an adult to supervise.
- At least one adult should stay home, if possible.
- Keep your house well lighted inside and out.
- Secure your pet inside the house.
- Only approach houses with porch lights on and never go into a stranger’s home.
- Walk only on the sidewalk and cross at designated cross stops. Children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other night of the year.
- Carry flashlights, glow sticks, and wear a blinking light or reflective tape on costumes.
- Make sure weapons look fake and are flexible. Fake guns should have orange tips. Tell your children not to make any threatening gestures with their fake weapons at strangers. If a law enforcement officer asks them to put down the weapon, tell them they must put the toy down immediately.
- Be aware of people who jump out and scare you. Know the difference between tricks and the real deal.
- Beef up your neighborhood watch. Get as many volunteers as possible to patrol your streets.
- Stay on code yellow, bordering on code orange from Colonel Jeff Cooper’s color codes of situational awareness.
Will you be trick or treating with your children this year? How do you plan to stay safe? Share your tips in the comment section.