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Off the Cuff

A  regular column for the People of Novi
from the Novi Police Department
courtesy of Police Chief David Molloy



Novi Police and Fire Departments offer important Halloween Safety Tips

October 2010 

On Sunday, October 31, thousands of witches, goblins, super heroes, and princesses will take to Novi streets when cleverly costumed children go looking for treats. The recommended “trick or treat” hours in Novi are between 6 and 8 pm

Halloween can be an enjoyable time for children and adults alike.  The Novi Police and Fire Departments encourage everyone to have a fun and safe Halloween.  Both Departments promote safety at all times, but it is never more important then during Halloween.  Drivers must remain aware and drive safely since children will be out on the local streets.  Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association reports Halloween is the fifth highest day of the year for candle fires, trailing only Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year's Day and New Year's Eve.  Fires caused by ignited decorations resulted in an average of 1,610 house fires a year.

“Throughout the year, the men and women of the Novi Police and Fire Departments strive to create the safest environment possible,” comments Novi’s Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police David E. Molloy.  “The biggest dangers faced on Halloween are injuries from tripping and falling and pedestrian/car accidents.  Unfortunately, many children forget often practiced safety tips out of shear excitement while trick-or-treating.  Children and adults often times choose the shortest routes when walking from door-to-door for treats rather than the safest routes.”

To ensure a safe Halloween, the Novi Police and Fire Departments recommend the following safety rules. 

Halloween Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips

Children should:

    Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches rather than entering houses.

    Travel in small groups and be accompanied by an adult.

  • Know their phone number in case an emergency telephone call is necessary.
  • Have their names and addresses attached to their costumes.
  • Bring treats home before eating them so parents can inspect them.
  • Use costume knives and swords that are flexible, not rigid or sharp.

When walking in neighborhoods Children should:

  • Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards.
  • Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks (where they exist), and do not cross between parked cars.
  • Stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.
  • Wear clothing that is bright, reflective, and flame retardant.
  • Consider using face paint instead of masks. (Masks can obstruct a child's vision.)
  • Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes.
  • Avoid wearing long, baggy or loose costumes or oversized shoes (to prevent tripping).
  • Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.

Parents and adults should:

  • Supervise the outing for children under age 12.
  • Establish a curfew (a return time) for older children.
  • Prepare homes for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns, and sidewalks and by placing jack-o-lanterns away from doorways and landings.
  • Avoid giving choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys as treats to young children.
  • Inspect all candy for safety before children eat it.

Parents and adults should ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters:

  • Make sure children are supervised as they cross the street.
  • Drive slowly.
  • Watch for children in the street and on medians.
  • Exit driveways and alleyways carefully.
  • Have children get out of cars on the curbside, not on the traffic side.

And a few tips about pumpkins and decorations:

  • Carve pumpkins on stable, flat surfaces with good lighting.
  • Have children draw a face on the outside of the pumpkin and have parents do the cutting.
  • Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.  Do not leave lit pumpkins unattended.  
  • It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace style matches or a utility lighter.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, and heaters.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)

Parents are encouraged to share these tips with their children to ensure a safe and enjoyable evening for the entire family.


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