February 23, 2024
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Halloween is a traditional American holiday, but it poses risks from poor lighting, drivers and even treat bags. Muleshoe Chief Police Benny Parker offers tips to help children, homeowners and citizens to celebrate safely. 

As kids mature, they become more independent and are likely to want to go out trick-or-treating on their own. 

“How old they should be before they go out on their own depends on the maturity level of the child,” Parker said. “At about 11 or 12, they should be OK going from door to door, but they should always have a friend with them, stay with the group and never walk alone. Remember that everyone under the age of 11 should always have a parent or an adult with them.” 

Since Halloween is a dark, spooky time, kids need to be visible to drivers. 

“Parents need to make sure that they’re wearing some type of reflective clothing on their shoes or jackets. They can have reflective tape from the hardware store on their Halloween bags or around their wrists, carry little glow sticks or flashlights, wear glow necklaces. Something where they’re visible,” Parker said. “Try to stay away from areas that are not well lit.” 

Drivers also have a responsibility on Halloween. 

“Drivers need to pay attention to traffic, stay alert, be careful of pedestrians, and watch for kids to run out from between cars,” Parker said. “If you’re letting kids in and out of vehicles, have your flashers on.” 

Parker said he’s seen a pickup being driven with a bunch of kids riding in the bed. 

“It doesn’t take but a split second for a child to fall out, so that would be a big no,” he said. 

Many people enjoy having children show up at their doors to receive a treat. Others may not enjoy it, or they may be away from home. 

“We tell everybody to turn the porch light on, open the front door and stand outside if they want to have trick-or-treaters. If not, close your door. That’s best for everybody concerned,” Parker said. 

“The “trick” part of Halloween has largely been dormant for many years. 

“We haven’t had a big problem with vandalism, but citizens should report any suspicious activity,” Parker said. “We’re going to attempt to have more law enforcement patrolling that night, but it’s largely a matter of neighbors helping neighbors. So, be on the lookout and report.” 

Several news reports have warned about the possibility of fentanyl disguised as rainbow-colored candy showing up in treat bags. Parents are always advised to check kids’ treat bags before the kids (or the parents) eat the candy, but extra caution may be advisable this year. 

“Check all the candy, and if any packages are open, or partially opened, just throw them away,” Parker advises. “There are good people out there, but there are also the other kind. If any candy is not from the manufacturer, it’s best to throw it away unless it’s from somebody like Grandma, Aunty or Uncle.” 

If any of those rainbow-colored candies show up, parents and kids are warned not to touch them. 

“Fentanyl is absorbed through the skin,” Parker said. “If you find anything suspicious, call your local law enforcement and advise us of the situation.” 

Parker reminded parents or caretakers that they’re more than welcome to come down to the police department and have an officer go through the treat bags. 

In the end, Halloween is a time for kids to dress up, go around to their neighbors, show off their costumes and get a treat. 

“Have a good holiday season and have fun,” Parker concludes. 

GAIL M. WILLIAMS

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