From the desk of Chief Gregory: How to stay safe this Halloween

BUCKHANNON – As the leaves begin to change color and the air begins to cool, the season of Halloween quickly approaches.

Shops big and small are all decked out with costumes and decorations and children wait in anticipation for the annual ritual of trick-or-treating.

As this season nears, it is important to remember some very important safety tips for young and young-at-heart alike so everyone can have a safe Halloween.

When the Buckhannon Police Department presents its annual Halloween Safety programs, we always tell youngsters to make sure that they trick-or-treat in well-lit areas and to make sure that they bring something along with them to allow them to be seen better, such as a flashlight, glow sticks or even reflective tape on their costumes.

It is also important for children to have a responsible adult with them while trick-or-treating.

We always tell children to use good manners by saying “please” and “thank you,” and if a person offers for the child to come into their house, to remain on the porch, unless, of course, they know the person inviting them in.

This leads to our discussion concerning “Stranger Danger” with children, where we teach them safe rules to follow if they ever encounter a stranger. This is a very important conversation to have repeatedly with children, especially for younger children, and not just at Halloween time.

We teach them that a stranger is simply someone that you don’t know, not just a scary guy or a bad guy. Strangers, in many cases, can be very nice. That being said, the most crucial rule about strangers for children is that we don’t talk to them, we don’t take rides with them, and we don’t take anything from them and if a stranger tries to get them to do any of these things, to tell an adult immediately.

We always end this conversation by discussing with children the important role of police officers in our community and how they are here to protect us, help us and keep us safe.

Of course, safe trick-or-treating also includes making sure children walk on the sidewalk and not run from house to house or through yards where they could fall and get hurt or get separated from the adult in their group.

Knowing the safe rules to cross the road is also paramount. When done trick-or-treating, we always tell children to make sure an adult checks their candy before they have any to eat and if any candy is found unwrapped, to throw it away and not eat it. We also tell them to eat their candy a little bit at a time and not all at once.

For adults, it is important to remember to drive extra cautiously during this Halloween season and be on the lookout for the increased number of children who are out enjoying this time.

For more information as it relates to “Stranger Danger” or Knowing Your Local Law Enforcement Officer,” please visit www.buckhannonpolice.com.

Coloring books and safety information about these topics can be found under the Programs tab and then by clicking on Junior Officers and then on Activities. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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