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 Farmington trick-or-treaters Peyton and Genevieve stand with a Farmington Public Safety Department patrol car. Public safety officers will be passing out snacks on Halloween night that were donated by Fresh Thyme.

Farmington trick-or-treaters Peyton and Genevieve stand with a Farmington Public Safety Department patrol car. Public safety officers will be passing out snacks on Halloween night that were donated by Fresh Thyme.

Photo provided by the Farmington Public Safety Department

Safety tips for the Halloween season

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published October 23, 2019

FARMINGTON — With Halloween night right around the corner, families may be going through their checklists to ensure everyone has a spook-tacular night: Have the pumpkins been carved? Do the children have their costumes? Is there candy in the bowl?

There’s a separate checklist everyone in town should be checking through to make sure those involved not only have a fun evening, but a safe one as well.

Farmington Public Safety Director Frank Demers said his No. 1 safety recommendation for families this Halloween is remembering to have a parent or chaperone with children, especially young ones.

“I would say anyone under 12 years old should probably have a supervisor of some sort with them chaperoning,” he said. “Always remaining in groups is also important. When kids get separated, bad things tend to happen. People get lost or confused, so staying in groups is one of the bigger recommendations I have for the community.”

Not only does Demers advise parents or other adults to be out with kids, it’s also required by law under Farmington’s curfew ordinance. Children 12 or younger must be inside by 10 p.m. if they’re without adult supervision; the curfew for kids 13-16 is midnight.

Demers said people out trick-or-treating should carry a flashlight or “some type of luminary,” like a glow stick. Farmington public safety officers will be out in the neighborhoods on Halloween night passing out glow sticks and snacks.

Erica Surman, the pediatric trauma program manager at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, said visibility is one of the biggest safety concerns during the spooky season.

“Make sure children’s costumes are reflective or have reflective stickers on them,” she said. “It’s so dark, and a lot of costumes are darker or black, and the kids are so excited and focused on getting candy. People are riding in vehicles, kids are running around, and it’s dark, so I think the biggest danger about Halloween is that kids may be hit by a car.”

Demers and Surman said they luckily have never experienced a pedestrian accident on Halloween night, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

“Without a doubt, there will be kids and individuals who just cross at unsafe places where traffic can be. We really need drivers to be extra cautious and certainly driving at or below the speed limit, which is 25 mph in any residential area,” Demers said. “Just be ultra alert, because there is going to be heavy pedestrian traffic, and the level of alertness will be key in preventing any kind of accident.”

Demers said the absolute safest place to cross, whether in a residential area or downtown, is at an intersection with a traffic control sign, such as a stop or yield sign.

Beaumont does sometimes see a few kids come in on Halloween night, Surman said, usually for minor injuries, like those sustained from tripping and falling, possibly on lawn decorations or dog chains, or eye injuries. She recommends making sure house walkways and lawns are well-lit so kids can avoid any obstacles.

When it comes to costumes, Surman recommends that parents check to ensure their child’s costume is flame resistant. She said most store-bought costumes will be, but if children plan to wear homemade costumes, make sure the materials used are treated with flame retardants as well. She also warns parents to be cautious of any face paint or makeup used.

“There’s not really huge regulations on these costume paints. We’ll often recommend not using a mask, and using the makeup instead, because then you have better visibility, but you always want to test the makeup first to make sure there’s not an adverse reaction,” Surman said. “Just use regular cosmetics if you can, rather than the highly pigmented colors, and keep them really far away from the eyes.”

Although there isn’t a noticeable uptick in crimes, like vandalism or property damage, reported during the Halloween season, the Public Safety Department will have extra officers out patrolling Halloween night, focusing primarily on the neighborhoods and apartment complexes, to ensure everyone’s safety.

Demers recommends that people use their common sense and report anything that may seem suspicious right away.

“Most parents have that sixth sense when they’re with their kids or a group of kids they’re in charge of. Really trust that sixth sense and your common sense,” he said. “If it doesn’t feel right, move on, and certainly report it to us immediately. We’ll respond and take appropriate action.”