With Halloween and trick-or-treating taking place on Saturday, the Tallahassee Police Department is making an effort to keep children safe by providing safety tips to parents and patrolling local neighborhoods.
Tallahassee Police Department Officer Kathy McGhin cautions parents to know their children’s whereabouts, how they are getting back home and carry a flashlight to illuminate dark areas. Also, she encourages parents to bring a wagon if they are traveling with small children. McGhin said she feels that the more educated parents are about the community and places their children go, the safer they will be.
“The important thing is that when your children are trick-or-treating, go with them in front of the houses, watch them come back to you and have a flashlight,” McGhin said.
McGhin also said if children are old enough to trick or treat by themselves, it would be in their best interest to travel in groups.
“They need to stay with a group, they need to have flashlights, and parents need to have some type of communication with their children to know what time they are coming home,” McGhin said.
One neighborhood is not recommended over another, but it would be a good idea for parents to take their children trick-or-treating in their own neighborhood since they are more familiar with the people in the area.
A local parent, Sherry McNabb, 22, a Tallahassee Community College graduate from Fort Lauderdale, plans to take her son, Jerome Smith, 1, to the Southwood neighborhood for trick-or-treating.
“This is my son’s first year trick-or-treating and I want to take him somewhere where I know he will be safe,” McNabb said. “A friend of mine lives in Southwood and I feel like he will be safe because I am familiar with the neighborhood.”
McGhin said officers would be out patrolling the community to ensure not only the safety of trick- or-treaters, but also those who will be giving away candy from their home.
“You will see us; we will be out,” McGhin said.
McGhin reminds residents that are giving candy away to have their porch lights on and to look out a window before opening the door.
“If you expect people to trick-or-trick at your house, leave the porch light on,” McGhin said. “If your lights are off when someone comes to your door, turn your porch light on and look out a window before opening the door.”
McGhin said there are more places other than neighborhoods where parents can take their children trick-or-treating.
“There are tons of opportunities and places that people can take their children to get candy,” McGhin said. “Governor Square Mall is another place parents can take their children trick-or-treating.”
General Manager of Governor Square Mall, Eric Litz, said the mall no longer has a program for trick-or-treating, but mall merchants will have signs in their window and will give out candy to children.
“We have not sponsored a trick-or-treat program at the mall for the past three years because we do not have the staff to pull off events like this anymore,” Litz said. “But mall merchants are welcome to give out candy to children.”