Curfews are set for Halloween

Monday, October 29, 2007

SIKESTON -- Despite Halloween falling on a Wednesday -- a church night for many people -- trick-or-treating will still be observed on the holiday in most local towns. However, curfews have been set.

Both Sikeston and East Prairie city officials recommend trick-or-treaters go between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday. Charleston children may go from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m, and in New Madrid, trick-or-treaters can't be out after 9 p.m. In Miner, trick-or-treating will be from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. These times are all for Wednesday.

In Portageville, trick-or-treating will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. The city council moved trick-or-treating because so many people attend church on Wednesday nights, according to Portageville Officer Jackie Merideth.

Parents and their children should keep safety in mind when trick-or-treating.

"Take your children, places you know and to people you know," Merideth cautioned. "It's always good to carry a flashlight when walking."

Before letting children consume candy, make sure the it's OK to eat, Merideth said. For example, look for small holes or punctures, any opened packages, any kind of substance on the outside of the packages, odors that wouldn't typically be on the packages or if the wrappers are taped or stapled. If any of these are present, do not let the child eat the candy.

Other things that can be done, as suggested by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, are to keep costumes short to prevent tripping and consider make-up rather than masks. Masks can make it difficult for children to see oncoming traffic.

Wear light-colored clothing or add reflective tape to dark costumes to make them visible. Flame resistant costumes are the best ones.

The Patrol also suggested trick-or-treaters are urged to do so while it is light outside. An adult should always accompany small children, and older children should stay in groups. Tell your child to approach familiar houses that are well lighted.

But trick-or-treaters aren't the only ones who need to be safe on Halloween.

When handing out treats at home, make sure the goodies are well wrapped, the Patrol said. Consider handing out pencils, pens, erasers, small party favors, etc. instead of candy. Be sure to remind your own trick-or-treaters to wait until they return home to sample treats. That way, an adult will be able to check treats for evidence of tampering.

Motorists should also stay alert for young children who are excited by Halloween and could dart in front of your car. So, slow down and drive with extra caution, the Patrol said.

For those who do attend a Halloween party that includes alcohol, make sure to have a sober, designated driver for the trip home. Alcohol, even in small amounts, slows reaction time and dulls the senses.

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