With Halloween fast approaching, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry (SD&G) Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) wish to remind parents and motorists to focus on the safety of children partaking in this anticipated evening. Officers will be out in full force promoting the safety of “Trick or Treaters” and residents of our communities.

Halloween goers who would more inclined to tricks are reminded by the OPP that mischief – as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada not only applies to damaging or destroying of property, but also interfering with the lawful use and enjoyment of property. While some people feel that Halloween is an evening for “pranks”, many of these “pranks” do qualify as mischief and can result in the responsible person(s) facing criminal offences. This can result in court appearances and if convicted – a criminal record.

The OPP are asking motorists to drive safely and watch for children in dark clothing darting out from between parked cars, walking on roadways, medians and curbs and exiting driveways and alleys.

As for the parents, the OPP are asking them to make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for younger children. Parents should plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow and know the names of older children’s companions.

Children should be instructed to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route and to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger’s home. A return time should be established and children should only start eating the treats once they have been inspected by a parent. In other words, if there is a doubt, throw it out!

The OPP suggests that a slip of paper should be pinned inside a pocket with the child’s name; address and phone number in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

Costumes should be made of fire-retardant materials, loose enough to allow the child to have warm clothing underneath and not too long so that the costume does not become a tripping hazard. If the child is allowed to be out after dark, the costume should be made of light colored materials or strips of retro reflective tape should be used to make children visible.

The OPP does not encourage masks and suggests facial make-up instead as to not obstruct the vision of the child. If a mask must be worn, it should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.

Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects. Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-coloured or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark. Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.

The OPP are warning children not to enter homes or apartments without adult supervision and to walk, not run, from house to house. They are also warning children against crossing yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards. They are asking children to walk on sidewalks, not in the street and to stay on the left side of the road, facing traffic if there are no sidewalks.