Little ghouls and goblins — along with plenty of minions and “Frozen” characters — will be roaming Sedalia this weekend in search of candy, and local law enforcement is reminding families to be safe while having fun.
As it gets dark earlier for the Halloween holiday, trick-or-treaters and their families should keep an eye out, as neighborhoods can become more crowded than usual with vehicles and pedestrians.
“Go to houses with porch lights on, don’t go inside houses, and stay in groups or with family,” said Sedalia Police Department Officer Derrick DeSalme. “It’s important to stay on sidewalks; we get kids darting out between vehicles.
“Wear reflective clothing if possible so they stand out or have some type of light with them,” he added.
Kids aren’t the only ones who like to have fun on Halloween. DeSalme reminded adults to be safe when drinking this weekend.
“If adults go out, don’t drink and drive if going to parties,” he said. “Have a designated driver.”
The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds motorists to help with Halloween safety as well, as most kids are focused on the task at hand rather than looking both ways before crossing the street. Drivers should slow down and drive with extra caution Saturday.
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, during the 2014 Halloween holiday Missouri had one fatality and four injuries involving pedestrians under the age of 16.
MSHP also suggested trick-or-treating while it’s light outside to increase visibility, but if you must go at night, use a flashlight or wear reflective clothing, such as light-colored clothing or adding reflective tape to dark costumes or candy bags.
The Humane Society of Missouri has provided tips to make sure Halloween is fun even for Fido, such as keeping pets inside away from trick-or-treaters or other activities so they aren’t frightened or threatened at the sight of noisy, costumed children.
Owners should also stay aware of frequently opening the door to hand out candy, as it creates a prime opportunity for furry friends to escape.
“Keep cats in a separate room and dogs on a leash to avoid problematic situations,” a release states. “Be sure all pets wear collars with ID tags in case of accidental escape.”
The Humane Society also warned owners of cats, especially black ones, to keep their cats safely indoors during Halloween, as they are often the target of pranksters. Pets should also be kept away from candy since chocolate is potentially harmful to pets.
For those looking for a safe place to trick-or-treat outside of a neighborhood, Sedalia Downtown Development Inc. will again offer a Downtown Halloween event. From 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, families can make their way through downtown Sedalia, stopping at various businesses that will be handing out treats. Most schools will be adjourned by 3 p.m. Friday in Sedalia School District 200.
SDDI Director Meg Liston said “a large portion” of shops and offices are participating in the event this year. It was estimated that between 2,000 and 2,200 children participated in 2014.
“I think it’s a great thing for the community, families can bring their children down here and have a safe place to trick-or-treat,” Liston said. “A lot of the merchants dress up, they get candy a month or so ahead. … They’re well-prepared and offer a good event, as much (candy) as they can between 3 and 5.”
Ohio Avenue will be closed to make the event safer, Liston said. Third Street will be open, but will be patrolled by SPD officers.
Liston said various local agencies and clubs will also be set up with tables in front of the Pettis County Courthouse offering candy and other treats. If any other groups would like to participate, they may contact Liston at 660-827-7388.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.