By Tonya Townsell, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsOctober 23, 2013
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif -- The Presidio of Monterey offers trick-or-treaters plenty of opportunity for safe fun this Halloween.
The Light in the Night
Community members are invited to celebrate the 21th annual fall festival "The Light in the Night." This alternative to house-to-house trick or treating Halloween event is free and sponsored by the Ord Military Community Chapel. It will be held at the OMC Chapel on General Jim Moore Boulevard 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
This fun, safe and non-scary event is organized with an eye toward community-building for children of all military personnel, DOD civilian employees, retirees, parishioners and neighbors. Children 11 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Costumes are welcome, but, please, no costumes that are scary or inappropriate.
Bring family, friends and neighbors to enjoy a free evening of fall fun, including face painting, bounce houses, candy, food, petting zoo, photo ops in a fall-harvest setting and more. Child-focused games include milk-jug toss, bean-bag toss, fishing game, duck pond, ring toss and ball toss.
Volunteers are an intricate part of making this event successful. For more information or to volunteer, contact John Mark Edwards at 831-242-7629. Volunteers should plan to arrive at the chapel at 5 p.m. for assignments and for a free dinner.
The Exceptional Family Member Program is hosting a not-too-scary haunted adventure spooktacular for EFMP families 10:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 26. Children will receive goodies and participate in activities, including hula hoops, badminton, potato sack races, bubble blowing and more. Participants need to be registered in POM's EFMP program. Reservations required by Oct. 25 to 831-242-7660 or 831-242-7960.
Also, from 12-2 p.m., Oct. 26, Parks at Monterey Bay is hosting a safety spooktacular at La Mesa Community Center. This is a haunted house where children are invited to come dressed in costume for a haunted house, bounce house and more. Special guests include POM Fire and Police departments and the Monterey Sherriff's Department. For more information, call1-866-902-6522.
Bump in the Night Phobia
The Presidio's Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers (and other service members) is sponsoring a Halloween party for single service members and guests over 18 years old Oct. 26 from 8 p.m.-midnight -- doors open at 8 p.m. -- at the Hobson Recreation Center here on post. Cost is $2. There will be a costume contest with prizes and music that goes "bump in the night." Java Café will be open for food and beverages. For more information, call 831-242-5447.
Trick-or-treating in the housing areas runs 5-8 p.m. Oct. 31. While POM Police will patrol the housing areas, parents should oversee preparations, if not the actual door-to-door events. Drivers also need to be even more alert while driving through the housing areas during trick-or-treating hours. Police patrols will be at the housing areas during the event. For more information from the POM Police, call 831-242-7851. Below are tips to help make the night safe and successful.
The following tips were gathered from various websites, including www.halloween-safety.com, Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well as various garrison safety offices.
•Paint faces with makeup, rather than masks, for better visual safety. This also looks more creative.
•Flame-resistant costumes: For costumes, masks, beards and wigs, look for the label "Flame Resistant." Although this label doesn't mean the items won't catch fire, it does indicate the items will resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the ignition source. To minimize the risk of contact with candles or other sources of ignition, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts. Also, use the "flameless candles" that are easily accessible this year.
•Short costumes prevent tripping; the shorter the ghost sheet, the better. Young children are more likely to trip on costumes, shoes, sidewalks and yards.
•Shoes should be made for walking. Put the children in sturdy shoes, even if they don't match the costume: Think fairy princess in sneakers or boots. Leave mother's high heels in the living room.
•Make sure your children travel in a group and not alone. Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child. Try for a mixture of younger and older kids, so the older children can help watch the younger ones.
•Tell children to stay with people they know; don't talk to strangers.
•Keep track of kids and costumes. Because everyone will be in costume, make sure the adult knows the costumes and number of children in the group, in case some children slip in and out of the group.
•Plan the route in advance, so the children know where to go.
•Tell kids what time to be home; make sure they know to follow the prescribed route. Also, give them a cell phone so they can call home or the police. (Children should have a way to communicate with parents in case of an emergency.)
•Look for outside lights and other signs of trick-and-treating friendly homes. Children should go only to homes where residents are known.
•Homes without lights aren't participating, so don't bother them. Parents should go over the difference between "tricks" and "vandalism" before children head out for the evening.
•Stay on sidewalks and out of streets; don't trample through lawns and gardens.
•Tell children to avoid pets and animals they don't know, and to be careful when around animals they know. Animals tend to be edgy when a lot of strangers are around.
Rules of the road
•Provide glow sticks and flashlights for kids. Slap some reflective tape onto their costumes to make them more visible to cars. It might be light when they begin, but it will soon turn to dusk. Better yet, glow-in-the-dark creature/monster/princess is a great costume idea.
•Make sure kids stay on the main path and do not travel between cars or take short cuts.
•Wear gloves and other appropriate weather coverings. It's a lot colder for little ones than it is for adults. Generally, the Monterey area experiences cooler and, sometimes, rainy weather Oct. 31.
•No eating candy before home. Warn children not to eat any treats until they bring them home to be examined by you.
•Make sure treats are pre-packaged; no unwrapped treats (including fruits or sandwich-baggie treats).
•Parents should do a quick quality check on the candy before children eat -- no punctures, no visible signs of tampering.
•Consume candy in moderation.
Sometimes it's best to keep things in one area, so if you cannot attend any of the organized POM events, perhaps you and some other parents could organize your own Halloween party for the neighborhood children.
For more information, contact the POM Garrison Safety Office at 831-242-6332.
(Information provided by various garrison and Army organizations.)