BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – With Halloween just days away, families are preparing for different trick-or-treat activities with their kids. One thought at the top of many parents’ minds while planning is safety.
Many Halloween events happen after the sun goes down which can bring up safety concerns around kids’ costumes as they’re out trick-or-treating. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency say one way to protect kids once the sun sets is to make sure there’s something reflective on their costume or have them dressed in light-colored clothes.
“Most of the time, people start trick-or-treating around 6 o’clock, right when it’s starting to get dark and we don’t want any child to get struck by a car and those reflective gear will be more visible for the drivers that are going through the neighborhoods,” ALEA Trooper Justin O’Neal said.
Law enforcement officers say drivers should also be extra cautious driving around neighborhoods when families are walking from house to house.
“They’re going to be excited, they’re not going to be thinking,” Lieutenant Joni Money with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said. “Although we encourage them ‘watch before you cross’, hold hands, stay with friends, stay in well-lit areas, they’re going to be excited, they’re going to forget.”
As you and your kids get ready to dress up and go door-to-door, law enforcement agencies also say it’s important not to go to neighborhoods or houses that you don’t know.
“If you don’t know the house, don’t know the people that live there, I’m not saying there’s going to be poison candy or anything but I would always recommend going to someone that you trust, someone that you know,” O’Neal said.
Beyond wanting to ensure the candy kids are getting is safe, some parents worry about going near the houses of sex offenders. There are different online resources parents can check out ahead of trick-or-treating to see where the registered addresses are.
People in Jefferson County can download the free sheriff’s office app and look at the interactive map of the county, while ALEA has a database where parents can search an address and see what registered offenders are around in a certain radius.
“It’s really important to stay away from those residences because you know, they’re not supposed to be around children and this just makes it a little easier for both parties involved,” Money said.
ALEA says a safe alternative to traditional trick-or-treating is going to a trunk-or-treat event.
“Trunk or treats are normally conducted by a reputable business. They’re off the beaten path, you don’t have a bunch of cars that are traveling through and the cars are parked with their trunks open with the candy out there,” O’Neal said.