Safety is priority one for trick-or-treating

By Winifred BrownOctober 26, 2022

Safety is priority one for trick-or-treating
Members of the Presidio of Monterey Police Department discuss Halloween safety during a meeting at department headquarters, Ord Military Community, Calif., Oct. 25. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 26, 2022) — This year, trick-or-treating for the Presidio of Monterey community will take place at the Presidio of Monterey, La Mesa Village and Ord Military Community from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31.

To ensure safety, U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey police and safety officials have provided important tips for trick-or-treaters and their families.

Deputy Chief Paul Lerma with the Presidio of Monterey Police Department said trick-or-treaters should stay in groups, have a plan, and stick to well-lit, familiar places.

Children should also inspect candy with their parents or an adult before eating any of it, Lerma said. “There’s a lot of illegal narcotic substances [such as fentanyl] that mimic candy and look like candy,” he said. “So you’ve got to be very careful.”

Parents also need to keep in mind the garrison’s child supervision rules, Lerma said.

Garrison policy states that children 11 years old or younger must have an adult with them when outdoors after dark, Lerma said. This rule applies throughout the year but is especially relevant during trick-or-treating.

Similarly, for children who might not want to go trick-or-treating, children newborn through 9 years old cannot stay home unattended, according to the policy. Parents may only leave children ages 10 and 11 home alone for five daylight hours. With the sun setting at 6:11 p.m. Oct. 31, trick-or-treating will take place in the dark.

Parents may leave children ages 12 through 14 home unsupervised for up to six hours during daylight and early evening but must check on them every three hours in person or over the phone, according to the policy. Children 13 and older may care for siblings for up to six hours, but not overnight. Parent Central Services, 2218 Gigling Road, Bldg. 4260, Ord Military Community, has the full set of rules available.

Joe Alfonso, the garrison’s safety manager, added that for costume safety, adults should check to make sure all costumes, wigs and accessories are fire resistant.

Also, nontoxic Halloween makeup is better than masks, which can obscure vision, Alfonso said. It’s important, however, to always test makeup in a small area to see if irritation develops and remove it all before children go to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation.

To help ensure safety after dark, adults should attach reflective tape to children’s costumes and bags, or give them glow sticks, Alfonso said.

If children 12 years old and older are going trick-or-treating alone, parents should plan and review an acceptable route, Alfonso said. Agree on a specific time children should return home.

Adults should also teach their children to never enter a stranger’s home or car, and travel only in familiar, well-lit areas with their friends, Alfonso said.

It is also important that drivers are especially cautious during trick-or-treating hours.

Alfonso said ways to exercise caution include watching for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs; entering and exiting driveways and alleys carefully; and keeping an eye out for children in dark clothing.

It is also a good idea to discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween, Alfonso said.

In addition, trick-or-treaters, family members and drivers should remain focused on their surroundings and reserve cell phone use until they are in a safe place.

With these tips in mind, garrison officials wish everyone a fun time trick-or-treating.

For households that wish to participate by handing out treats, garrison officials ask people to turn their porch lights on. For those that do not wish to participate, people should turn their porch lights off.

In an emergency, call 911, but to report suspicious behavior or other non-emergencies, immediately contact the Presidio of Monterey Police at (831) 242-7851. Prompt reports help police respond more effectively.