Sheriff offers safety tips for Halloween

Published 3:50 am Saturday, October 26, 2019

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This column was submitted by Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal:

Halloween is approaching, and I expect large groups of children to be out and about that evening, enjoying the festivities. My primary concern on Halloween, and any other time, is the safety of children. With that in mind, I would like to offer the following safety tips. Please review these with your children before they begin their trick-or-treat adventure.

  1. Fake swords, knives, guns, and other costume accessories can potentially cause injury. Make sure they aren’t too long for the costume and review with your child that they are part of the costume and not a weapon. Make sure they are made out of cardboard or flexible materials.
  2. Keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
  3. Only purchase costumes and accessories that are marked flame-resistant.
  4. Try using makeup instead of a mask. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, which can be dangerous when they are crossing streets and going up and down stairs.
  5. Costumes with light colors and/or reflective tape are best. Someone in the group should carry a flashlight. Consider putting reflective tape on the candy bags too.
  6. Children should always trick-or-treat in groups, never alone, and preferably with adult supervision. Children should carry a cell phone for quick communication.
  7. Parents should select the safest route for children to take. Children should stay on sidewalks (where available) or on the shoulder of the roadway facing traffic. Children should avoid walking in the roadway, in poorly lit areas, and be cautious not to dart from behind parked vehicles or shrubs.
  8. Drivers should slow down and use extreme caution, especially in neighborhoods where children will be trick-or-treating.
  9. Children should be instructed to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on. They should also be advised to never go inside a home or car to collect treats. They should not stop at houses that are dark or do not have the porch lights turned on.
  10. Children (and adults) should only consume unopened candies and treats in original wrappers. Treats with open packaging or torn wrappers should be discarded.
  11. Children should not eat any treats until they get home and a parent or adult can examine them.
  12. As an alternative of going door-to-door, parents can take their children to community-sponsored events such as those hosted by community centers, churches, schools, etc.

For more Halloween safety tips, please visit online at

With a little preparation, communication and diligence, Halloween can be a safe and enjoyable evening. Of course, Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies will be on patrol and available to you and your children should you need us. As always, dial 911 in case of an emergency or call 985-839-3434 to report any suspicious activity.

Let’s work together to make this Halloween experience a fun and safe experience for our children.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Randy “Country” Seal is the sheriff of Washington Parish.