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Officials stressing safety during Halloween revelry

The annual Halloween pilgrimage from door to door will takeplace at the traditionally accepted time this year in spite offootball revelry, Mayor Bob Massengill said.

With Oct. 31 falling on a Friday night this year, the mayor’soffice said trick or treaters will make the rounds on the actualevening of Halloween.

“I know that’s a football night, but we hold it on the 31stunless it falls on a Sunday,” Massengill said. “If that’s the case,we’ll back it up to the Saturday before.”

Massengill asked that not only trick or treaters but parents andmotorists proceed with caution on Halloween night, as more peoplethan usual are on the streets during the yearly ritual.

“Anyone driving that evening needs to be careful and realizechildren will be out and hopefully their parents will be withthem,” he said. “We do ask people to use extreme caution at thistime of year.”

Local law enforcement authorities agreed that while childrenfocus on the fun and fanfare that surround the holiday, safety isof the essence. Police Chief Pap Henderson said the first step inHalloween safety is to go early so as to utilize the remaininglight of sunset and early evening, and then try to wrap it up at adecent hour.

“It’s not a law, but we do ask parents to have a time limit,” hesaid. “I feel a couple of hours should be plenty of time for kidsto be out, especially with it being a weekend night.”

Meanwhile, it is important for motorists to be mindful of theirsurroundings at all times.

“But no matter what time it is, we urge drivers to keep a closeeye on the roads. Watch for the kids,” Lincoln County Sheriff SteveRushing said.

Henderson stressed also that parents should ensure theirchildren are wearing safe costumes.

If possible, face paint should be used instead of a mask to helpwith the child’s ability to see. Other precautions should also betaken, such as giving the child a flashlight or glowstick, oradding components that glow to the costume.

“I know it can be costly, but something reflective helps,” hesaid.

In addition, officials said, stay in areas that are familiar tochildren, as well as where the children are familiar to the arearesidents.

“I encourage parents to go to houses they know, just to be onthe safe side as far as the candy goes,” said Rushing. “I’m notsaying anyone around here would do anything to the candy, but it’salways good to be safe.”

Along the lines of Halloween mischief, authorities also remindedcommunity members that kids are out playing tricks as well asasking for treats. Rather than taking matters into their own hands,citizens are asked to contact local law enforcement instead.

“Be aware that kids will be up to mischief also,” Rushing said.”If there are problems, contact us, and we’ll work with thehomeowner on what penalties are applicable if they’re caught.”