Goblins expected to fill streets tonight

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2001

As the ghosts and goblins venture out in search of treats tonight, there are a few precautions parents and kids can take to ensure tonight's witching hours are safe and fun for everyone involved.

Traffic safety for both kids and drivers tops the list of safety concerns.

"I'd like for everyone to remember that kids don't always think before they act, so we have to be very careful when we're driving around (tonight)," said Sgt. Marvin Towell of the Soldotna Police Department. "Kids will be as careful as they can, but they're kids."

Soldotna and Kenai police will have extra patrols out tonight, especially in the more populated neighborhoods. They will make sure people are driving safely and keeping an eye on kids as they cross roads and intersections in search of candy plunder.

"And we'll be watching to make sure some of the older ones don't get in trouble with their tricks," Towell said.

Halloween pranks and vandalism aren't usually a problem, he said, although there was an instance of people throwing eggs a few years ago.

"I would encourage those who sell eggs to keep an eye out," Towell said. " If some 12- or 13-year-old buys 12 dozen eggs, call us and let us know what's going on."

According to investigator Gus Sandahl with the Kenai Police Department, the Kenai police haven't had many problems with Halloween vandalism since they added extra patrols to the more densely populated areas and the neighborhoods that have had problems in the past

Towell and Sandahl recommend the same Halloween precautions for trick-or-treaters: Small children should be accompanied by a parent, guardian or trusted adult and avoid entering a stranger's house; children should dress warmly with comfortable boots or shoes; costumes should have some sort of clearly visible reflective material or tape; and children should carry flashlights.

Another good safety precaution is for a parent or adult to check all candy and food before a child is allowed to eat it.

"Really look at the skin of an apple or the peel of fruit and wash it thoroughly," said Doug Davis, director of radiology at Central Peninsula General Hospital. "For candy, look at the integrity of the wrapping for puncture marks or any small tears. Even if there were a very small tear, I would throw it away."

Dan and Heidi Chay of Kenai plan to take their daughters, Maya, 10, who will be dressed as a Japanese girl in a kimono, and Freya, 6, who will be dressed as a character from "Little House on The Prairie," out trick-or-treating tonight.

"We go along with them door to door," Heidi Chay said. "We dress them warmly and avoid long costumes they'd trip over -- just the very ordinary precautions."

The full moon tonight -- the first full moon to happen on Halloween for 46 years, should set the mood for an enjoyable night, as long as candy- and fun-seekers exercise a little caution and common sense.

"We have trick-or-treated in Kenai since 1996 and we go to one of the more densely populated neighborhoods and it's always been a lot of fun," Chay said. "The greatest hazard is ice and cold weather."

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