Police offer tips for a spectacular, spooky Halloween

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published October 16, 2013

WEST BLOOMFIELD — While Halloween is thought to have Celtic origins, the holiday is celebrated in various ways throughout the world. In Belgium, candles are lit in memory of dead relatives. In Mexico, Latin America and Spain, the holiday is referred to as The Day of the Dead, when, traditionally, an altar is decorated with food, photographs and flowers. In America, the secular custom is for children to dress in costumes and trick or treat, a tradition that spread throughout the world.

This Halloween, West Bloomfield Township and the Orchard Lake police departments offer safety tips to ensure a safe, enjoyable and maybe a little spooky evening for residents.

“We want everyone to have a good time. If they abide by these tips, they’ll have a nice evening,” said Joseph George, the Orchard Lake police chief. “It’s all about the safety and respect.”

Most houses signal their participation in Halloween by leaving on porch lights or opening doors, George said.

“Don’t even approach homes that are dark. They’re sending you a message that they’re probably not willing to participate, so it’s best to bypass those homes,” he said.

Other guidelines offered by the departments include:

• Be respectful of others’ property; don’t cut across flowers or lawns.

• Carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing.

• Don’t cut through alleys or cross open fields, especially if you are by yourself.

• Wear makeup, not masks.

• Swords, knives, etc., should be soft and flexible.

• Never go into a house of someone you do not know well, and never get into anyone’s car.

Even though kids want to begin eating their candy right after trick-or-treating, police strongly advise that the candy be checked by an adult. This year, the Sylvan Lake Police Department will be checking candy for kids 7-8 p.m. at City Hall.

The departments also suggest not eating homemade or home- packed items unless they are from someone you know well.

Two patrol cars from the Keego Harbor Police Department will be patrolling the streets of Keego Harbor while distributing candy from the cars, said officer Robert Barnes of Keego Harbor Police Department. One car will cover the north end of Keego Harbor, while the other will cover the south.

The trick-or-treating portion of Halloween is meant for younger kids, although numerous bars, restaurants and homes throw Halloween parties, said Lt. Tim Diamond of the West Bloomfield Township Police Department.

“Too many times, a fun night has turned into tragedy because someone became careless or negligent. The instances of operating while impaired rise this time of year due to these types of parties,” Diamond said in an email.

“Partygoers should always have a designated driver or utilize some other form of public transportation if they are going to be drinking alcohol,” he continued, explaining that pedestrian traffic increases Halloween evening.

Halloween hours are 6-8 p.m. in West Bloomfield and Orchard Lake, and 6-7:30 p.m. in Sylvan Lake and Keego Harbor.