Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison said that traffic safety is one major concern, and children and parents should use extreme caution when crossing the street.
“The most important thing is that the children, if they are in a situation to cross the street, be very, very careful and cross with adults preferably,” Garrison said. “The majority of the time people will be out this year is around dusk, and visibility is always a problem.”
Garrison said drivers need to be more aware of people out on the streets and sidewalks at dusk, slow down and use extra caution.
“Be more vigilant; the kids are going to be on the streets, and they can be very unpredictable. You need to drop your speed at least 5 to 10 more miles per hour,” he said, “to improve your reaction time, in case you have to stop abruptly or take evasive action.”
Canton Police Department spokesman Pacer Cordry said the city has plans to make sure the festivities are safe and fun for everyone, with patrols starting throughout the city at 2 p.m.
“It is pretty much all hands on deck,” Cordry said. “We bring in anybody and everybody.”
Cordry said Canton police will bring in all members of the police department’s traffic unit, along with K-9 units and both of the city’s motorcycle officers.
They will be watching traffic with their lights on to make sure drivers keep their speed down and will patrol throughout Canton’s subdivisions and apartment complexes, Cordry said.
Garrison said wearing clothing with some sort of reflective material or lighted aspect, instead of just dark colors, can help drivers see trick-or-treaters better.
“Travel with friends and don’t go into neighborhoods that you don’t feel comfortable with and aren’t familiar with,” Garrison said.
Woodstock Police Department spokeswoman Brittany Duncan agreed with Garrison’s safety recommendations.
“The city of Woodstock Police Department wants to remind all citizens that while trick-or-treating, wear light color apparel, carry a flashlight and always walk in groups,” Duncan said. “Parents are reminded to check goodies collected prior to consumption.”
Garrison said checking children’s candy is an important safety measure.
“We recommend that (children) don’t eat any of the candy until they can get back and let their parents look through it and make sure it all looks safe and not tampered with,” Garrison said. “And especially to avoid any type of allergy situations.”
Safety will also be important in downtown Woodstock, as the city celebrates Halloween with KidsFest at The Park at City Center.
“KidsFest will be held rain or shine and is hosted by the City of Woodstock Parks and Recreation Department,” Duncan said.
From 3 until 7 p.m. Thursday, the KidsFest event will allow children to trick or treat in a safe environment.
“KidsFest is a free event designed to give children the opportunity to trick or treat in a safe environment while enjoying music, games and activities for all ages,” Duncan said. “In addition to KidsFest, the city of Woodstock Police Department will be in the residential areas of Woodstock passing out candy to trick-or-treaters.”
Pacer and the Canton Police Department offered some other safety tips for Halloween night, urging that children under the age of 12 should not trick or treat without adult supervision.
“If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, remind them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick or treat in groups,” Pacer added in a news release.
Pacer said in the release popular trick-or-treating time is between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m., and said children should only visit houses that have lights on and never go inside, only accept candy from the doorway.
“Take a cellular phone with you and report any suspicious activity and concerns,” he added in the release.