Everyone likes a scare on Halloween, so long as it’s safe.
Accordingly, Cobb County authorities are sharing tips for trick-or-treaters and other holiday revelers about avoiding harm while having fun Thursday.
Halloween, observed every Oct. 31, has become synonymous worldwide with costumes, candy and jack-o-lanterns made from hollowed-out pumpkins.
In Cobb, thousands of children and their parents are expected to participate in festivities during the typically busiest hours between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., going door-to-door within neighborhoods seeking treats from generous residents and administering tricks to those short on sweet offerings.
With so many costumed children likely to be pounding the pavement Thursday afternoon and evening, Cobb police officers and sheriff’s deputies are asking everyone in the county to be especially mindful of pedestrians while driving, particularly within residential subdivisions and communities.
Local authorities are also reminding trick-or-treaters not to enter the home of any stranger and to have a way of communicating with elders or peers if participating in Halloween activities alone.
The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office is conducting “highly concentrated patrols” throughout the county Thursday evening, spokesman Glenn Daniel told the MDJ.
It is common practice in Georgia for law enforcement personnel to more closely monitor registered sex offenders on Halloween, given the potential on the day for children to unwittingly visit the homes of those on the list.
Sex offenders are generally subject to parole or probation conditions preventing them from interacting with children and even decorating their homes for Halloween, per state law.
In some cases, county authorities have even placed warning signs at the addresses of registered sex offenders during October to dissuade would-be trick-or-treaters.
Below are some Halloween safety guidelines from Cobb police and the sheriff’s office.
Safety tips for Halloween
♦ Expect more pedestrians in your neighborhood, drive slowly and eliminate distractions like cell phones. Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
♦ Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Be especially alert for kids during those hours.
♦ Avoid walking in the middle of roads or criss-crossing across roadways to get from house to house. Try to stay on one side of the street and cross roads at corners with traffic signals or crosswalks.
♦ If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
♦ Dress so you’re easily visible at night and use flashlights, reflectors, reflective tape, glowsticks, or other items to increase visibility. Make sure your costume is the right size to prevent trips and falls. Choose face paint over masks when possible as masks can limit children’s vision.
♦ Parents should walk with their children and use this as an opportunity to reiterate pedestrian safety rules, like teaching children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
♦ For older children who are not accompanied by a parent, remind them that they should never enter into the house of someone they do not know. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, tell them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
♦ Make sure children who are not accompanied by a parent have a way to call for help in case of an emergency.
♦ Report any suspicious activity.
♦ If in doubt about sweets offered by residents, only eat those still in the original wrapping or packaging.