Candy Hunt Caution

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, October 25, 2012

Area goblins, witches, superheroes, princesses and other costumed children soon will go house to house in their annual search for candy and snacks.

     Halloween is just around the corner and people are stocking up on sweets to give out to children.

     Brookhaven Mayor Les Bumgarner said this year the city’s trick-or-treating hours will be on Halloween night, Oct. 31, from just before dark until 8:30 p.m.

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     “I think that’s how we usually do it,” said Bumgarner. “That’ll give the kids at least two and a half hours to trick-or-treat.”

     Bumgarner said the city usually holds trick-or-treating on Halloween night, unless it falls on a Sunday, then trick-or-treating hours are moved. He added that the city will not be sponsoring any events on Halloween.

     The mayor asked that only children 12 years old and younger participate.

     “We’d like to keep it for the kids,” he said.

     Lincoln County Administrator David Fields said the county had no recommendations on trick-or-treating hours.

     Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson and Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing both listed some safety tips for children and parents who plan to participate in Halloween trick-or-treating.

     Henderson recommended people go early and stay with an adult at all times.

     “As always, we’re trying to get this over with as early as possible,” he said. “It saves people from being out after dark. The parents need to try to be with the kids. So many times we see the kids running around with 11- or 12-year -olds trying to be the parents. (Parents) need to be with the kids as much as possible.”

     Rushing agreed having a parent around is important and children should try to stay in groups.

     “Children need to have an adult or someone older with them at all times if possible,” he said. “I suggest going as a group. If you can’t go as a group, put a few people together and stick with houses of people you know. Be aware of your surroundings and go to neighborhoods you feel comfortable in.”

     The law enforcement officials also offered advice on clothing.

     “Try to wear something reflective or stay with someone who has a light,” said Rushing.

     Henderson said he did not believe anyone in the city would aim to cause any harm to the kids.

     “But it’s always safe for the parents to be out,” the chief said. “We haven’t had any problems in the past and that’s a blessing. I don’t expect that to be any different this year.”

     Rushing said the main problem he sees every Halloween is vandalism.

     “The main thing we’ve dealt with in the past is some of the older kids like to vandalize people’s property,” he said. “It is one of the more popular times to roll someone’s yard. I would encourage them not to vandalize anyone’s property. We’re always out patrolling and may have additional units out that night.”

     In the city, Henderson said sometimes people throw eggs at others’ homes, and that will not be tolerated.

     “I have gotten complaints about it, and I’m not going to put up with people throwing eggs at people’s houses,” he said. “We will be patrolling heavily that night.”

     The chief also said to use common sense.

     “If you go to a house and there are no lights on, just keep going,” he said. “These people are not into Halloween and they’re showing you they’re not giving you anything.”