ROPD shares tips for safe and happy Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner, the Red Oak Police Department is offering tips to make sure trick or treaters, partygoers, and drivers have a safe Halloween.
As kids fill their bags with candy on Oct. 31, Red Oak Police Chief Justin Rhamy said there are certain things to watch out for before they dive into a sugary treat.
“There’s a plethora of different concerns there. As they trick or treat and go to various houses, the kids or the parents should make sure the candies are securely wrapped, and if it’s not, they should be sure to inspect it thoroughly to make sure there’s not anything potentially harmful to the children in the candy itself. There are some safety aspects that should be focused on if it’s a homemade treat or handmade treat,” advised Rhamy. “Thankfully, for as long as I’ve been with the department, I don’t think we’ve ever had anything happen with tainted candy within our community.”
While stating there was nothing bad or wrong about wanting to pass out homemade treats, people may want to stick with a regular candy choice.
“Most certainly I would focus on the pre-packaged, pre-sealed treats to hand out. First, it’s going to make passing out the candy easier, but it’s also going to make parents feel more comfortable versus something homemade in a ziplock bag or a hand-crafted bag,” stated Rhamy.
In addition to being safe with candy, Rhamy said trick or treaters also need to be aware of their visibility, as the sun will be setting sooner when Halloween rolls around.
“While the first hour of Halloween may still be daylight, it will get dark quickly. If possible, kids should wear costumes with highly-visible, bright colors. If they’re dressed in dark colors, make sure they have a glow stick or a light somewhere on them. If they’re traversing up and down the street, or they get excited and bolt in front of a car, the driver can see those lights and be prepared that a kid in dark colors is nearby. It’s important to have some light to prevent any safety issues,” advised Rhamy.
While the type of weather is difficult to predict, Rhamy suggested that kids and parents pay attention to the weather.
“If it’s going to be cold out, it’s important they dress appropriately, so they don’t have any prolonged exposure in the cold, as that can lead to hypothermia. Halloween will happen rain or shine. One year, we had an ice storm on Halloween, so make sure everyone is dressed appropriately. If you feel it’s a good safety precaution, it’s probably a safe rule to follow.”
Rhamy also suggested it would be a good rule of thumb, even in a rural community, to have an adult present with the trick or treaters.
“If the younger kids want to trick or treat in groups, I’d recommend there be a responsible parent, guardian, or adult with them that can help them navigate through the streets and the houses as they go,” Rhamy said.
Rhamy added if a house doesn’t have a light on, trick or treaters need to pass on by.
“It’s a standard rule if the porch light is on, they’re willing to pass out candy for the Halloween event, so I’d recommend everyone respect those rules and go to homes with porch lights on, and be respectful to decorations,” Rhamy stated.
Rhamy said anyone who decides to use the holiday to commit pranks or acts of vandalism could face severe penalties.
“We’ve had some people have their decorations vandalized, or their inflatable decorations punctured. I hope we don’t have to face that this year, but anyone that commits vandalism or throws eggs at someone’s house would face a criminal mischief charge.”
Anyone traveling on Halloween night, Rhamy said, needs to be aware that there will be a lot of people out.
“There will be a massive amount of people out. They will be excited to be dressed and in character, and as we said before, some of their costumes limit their visibility. As a driver, you need to be watching out for all that stuff. If you’re in an area highly populated with kids, drive slow, be aware, pay attention, and be prepared to stop in the blink of an eye. There’s a chance a kid will bolt from behind a car into a vehicle’s path, and the last thing we want to see is someone severely injured,” commented Rhamy. 
In addition to trick or treaters, adults may be inclined to throw Halloween parties on Oct. 31. Rhamy asked that anyone planning a party be respectful of their neighbors.
“Halloween falls on a Tuesday, so people will be having to get up and go to work the next day. I suggest residents familiarize themselves with the city’s noise ordinance, and obviously, be a respectful neighbor,” advised Rhamy.
Rhamy also urges partygoers to be mindful of alcohol consumption, as police will be out.
“If you do choose to drink, make the wise decision to get a sober or designated driver to get you home, or to and from where you’re going. While we won’t be doing heightened enforcement, officers will be out in full force not only watching for impaired drivers, but making sure everyone is staying safe and being respectful,” Rhamy said.

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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