Police Chief Timothy Hanlon and Fire Chief Timothy Grenno would like to offer residents some important safety tips as Halloween approaches to ensure everyone celebrates safely and responsibly.
"We encourage children dressing in costumes to avoid wearing masks as they can obstruct vision," Chief Hanlon said. "Instead of masks, we recommend using non-toxic makeup as a safer alternative."
The Whitman Police and Fire Departments recommend that residents follow safety tips outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:
- Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls. Consider adding reflective tape to kids' costumes and bags to help drivers see them.
- If temperatures are cold during trick-or-treating time, be sure to have your kids wear long sleeves and warm clothing under their costume.
- If a child is wearing a mask instead of make-up, make sure the eye holes are large enough to see through clearly. Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as a safer alternative to masks. Test make-up in a small area of skin first and always remove make-up before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
- When shopping for costume pieces, look for and purchase ones that are labeled as flame retardant.
- Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible. A child may be easily hurt by accessories if he or she stumbles or trips.
- Children under 12 should always be accompanied by an adult. Avoid trick-ortreating alone.
- If your older children are going out without parental supervision, go over ground rules first and set a curfew. Have them travel in a group, with a cell phone and flashlight. Make sure children know how to call 911 if they have an emergency.
- Pedestrian injuries are very common on Halloween. Remind kids to stay in a group. They should walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic. Crosswalks should be used whenever possible and children should always look both ways before crossing the street.
- Only go to homes with a porch light on. Never go into a home or car for a treat.
- Examine all of your kids' treats for choking hazards and tampering. Do not eat treats that have been opened, even partially. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
Keeping Your Home Safe for Trick-or-Treaters
- Make sure your home is well-lit inside and out and that there is a clear path to your front door.
- Keep all decorations like cornstalks and hay away from heat sources and lit candles.
- Use battery-operated tea lights instead of candles in jack-o-lanterns.
- Remember to put matches and lighters away in a high, locked cabinet so children cannot access them or be tempted to relight jack-o-lanterns by themselves.
"We would like to remind children and parents to use glow sticks or flashlights when trick-or-treating this year to ensure they are better seen by drivers," Chief Grenno said.
"If you choose to use glow sticks, remind children not to chew on them or break them open. Swallowing glow stick liquids can cause nausea, vomiting or burning. Eyes and skin are extremely sensitive to glow stick liquid as well."
As always, any suspicious person or vehicle should immediately be reported to Whitman Police by dialing 911.