Halloween Is Coming
I’m sure you will understand when I tell you that Halloween just isn’t the Ukiah Police Department’s favorite holiday. In fact, it can be downright scary for our police officers and dispatchers!
Halloween brings out the darker side of some people, and it is this dark side that requires everyone in law enforcement to be on their toes. While our dispatchers frantically answer 911 calls, our police officers race from call to call to keep people from hurting each other or someone else.
In next week’s column, I’ll talk more about safety tips while trick or treating, but this week I thought I would give everyone some safety tips to consider when selecting the perfect Halloween costume.
No Replica Firearms
Most importantly, please do not allow your child to carry a toy weapon that looks real as part of a costume. Toy guns, swords, or knives should only be allowed if it is obvious they are, in fact, toys. Heartbreaking cases of kids carrying replica weapons have ended with kids being injured or killed because the toy was mistaken for a real weapon.
A few years ago, a 13-year-old Santa Rosa boy was shot and killed after deputies repeatedly told him to put down what they believed to be an assault rifle. He was carrying a toy gun that looked real. It’s never a good idea to allow children to play with toys that can be mistaken for real weapons, but it is especially dangerous on Halloween when law enforcement officers are already on high alert.
While researching for this article, I came across a great website: www.halloween-safety.com, which has information for parents and kids to keep everyone safe while trick-or-treating on Halloween. One of the best sections of the website is the information on costumes. I’ve shared some of the website’s most important points below.
When buying or making a Halloween costume, remember costumes should look scary, not be scary to wear. Only buy or make costumes of a flame-resistant material and try to include reflectors, light sticks, or even a flashlight into your costume ideas. Every trick-or-treater needs to be seen, especially at night walking in and around cars. Before Halloween night do a test run with your child in costume to make sure it fits properly and does not create a tripping hazard.
If you plan to use makeup as part of your child’s costume, it’s a good idea to apply some of the makeup to your child’s arm (for at least 30 minutes) a few days before going trick-or-treating. If the area develops a rash, redness, swelling or other signs of irritation, your child may be allergic to the makeup.
If your child decides to wear a mask, it’s important to check the eyeholes to make sure they are big enough for your trick-or-treater to see well. If the eyeholes are too small, make them bigger and consider using black eye makeup to cover exposed skin around the eyes.
Lastly, there is no better time than now to begin coaching your trick-or-treater about sampling their candy that night. Long before you leave the house, your trick-or-treater should know you need to inspect the candy BEFORE they start eating it. Although cases of candy poisoning are rare, they do happen; and for everyone’s safety it’s important to look over candy before allowing a child to eat it.
Halloween can be a great time if we all follow a few simple safety tips, including choosing a great—but safe—costume. Please take some time this week to select and try out a safe but scary costume for your trick-or-treaters. Next week, look for my safety tips for when you’re out trick-or-treating or staying home giving out candy.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.