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Safety tips given to keep Halloween safe, fun for kids

Halloween festivities are gearing up in the area as the day oftricks-or-treats approaches.

Yards and store windows are filled with Halloween decorations.Candy and costumes for trick-or-treaters are being sold at moststores, and pumpkins are being carved in preparation for Wednesdaynight festivities.

Three nursing homes have planned community activities, with acostume parade from 4 to 6 p.m. at Countrybrook Living Center and aTrick-or-Treat night at Silver Cross Home and Beverly Healthcarefrom 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Halloween activities will follow the same procedures as previousyears in the city, according to a spokesman for the mayor, who wasout of the office Friday and Monday.

“We don’t expect any trouble. We’ve always had safe Halloweensin Brookhaven,” Brookhaven Police Chief Arlustra “Pap” Hendersonsaid. “We will have plenty of officers to patrol and help protectthe kids.”

As children and adults make plans for the busy night, though,authorities urge them to use extra caution.

“They need to be especially safe on Halloween,” said LincolnCounty Sheriff Lynn Boyte.

Dr. Billy White Jr., executive director of the MississippiDivision of Public Safety Planning, reminds parents that Halloweencan be a time when predators lure children into dangeroussituations.

“In celebrating Halloween, children sometimes are careless andnot aware of potential dangers. Predators can look upon thiscarelessness as opportunities,” he said.

Parents should explain the potential dangers to children andteach them how to deal with unsafe situations.

Tips issued by the Division of Public Safety Planning includemaking sure children do not enter a stranger’s home, do not accepta ride from a stranger or give out personal information to astranger.

Local authorities also mentioned the need for children totrick-or-treat early in the evening so they can be seen better. Ifactivities continue after dark, though, youngsters should carryflashlights.

Most importantly children should only trick-or-treat in theneighborhoods of family and friends, authorities advised.

“They should only go in territory they’re familiar with and topeople they know,” Boyte said, adding that trick-or-treaters shouldonly stop at well-lit houses.

Boyte encourages residents to slow down on county roads andwatch for vehicles making sudden stops and pulling in and out ofdriveways.

While trick-or-treating, children should walk, not run, onsidewalks, when available, and walk on the left side of the roadfacing traffic when there are no sidewalks, according to Dr. LouiseE. Davis, a child and family development specialist with theMississippi State University Extension Service.

They should also be careful of dogs, which could be aggressivewhen surrounded by more children then normal, Boyte said.

Children should not eat any candy until an adult has inspectedit. Candy with loose wrappers, broken seals, holes or cuts shouldbe discarded, along with suspicious looking fruit, Davis added.

Suspicious treats or suspicious activity should be reported toauthorities.