Halloween is a time for fun, costumes, and obviously enough free candy to make you pre-diabetic for 24 hours. Unfortunately, Halloween isn’t the safest night of the year, and those pesky caregivers want you to live or whatever, so we asked officers from all over for the best tactics for 2023.
Respect Property and Privacy – Officer Bowden, Louisiana
Remember that you’re a guest in the neighborhoods you’re visiting. Be respectful of people’s property and privacy. People feel more comfortable giving out candy, and giving out good candy, if they don’t have to clean eggs and toilet paper off of their homes. Another important consideration is that some homeowners can be armed, and sneaking around in the dark breaking things can make them jumpy.
Plan Your Route in Advance – Sergeant Cooper, Virginia
The way we get kids to agree to certain neighborhoods is simple. Safer neighborhoods put out more candy, and it’s usually the good stuff. It sounds classist, but it’s not about money; when people don’t feel unsafe about what will happen to or near their home during Halloween, they feel comfortable putting out the better candy. It becomes more fun treats than trouble bait.
Travel in Groups – Trooper First Class Fields, Massachusetts
Going out with your friends is going to be a lot more fun than going solo, but is also much safer. Moving in groups not only can protect your haul from older kids too lazy to put in the work, but also reduce the likelihood that you get picked up by someone who means you harm.
For us older kids, the same rules apply. When you go out on a Saturday night, you don’t go alone; Halloween is no exception.
Have a plan for what to do if you get split up, and make sure someone has a cell phone so they can get in touch with us or their parents if something feels off.
Use Reflective Gear and Flashlights – Police Corporal Dennings, Oregon
Okay, we get it, wearing a glow vest doesn’t look cool with a costume. That being said, there are a few ways to get the safety without the lame. Incorporating lights or reflectors into costume design is a good choice, or you can have other people (like your parents or designated drivers) wear the reflectors and stand on the outside of the group. They did that for Chewbacca when they filmed Star Wars, so it works pretty well.
Follow Traffic Rules – Detective Meeks, California
Most drivers will take into account that it's Halloween, and they need to be more cautious, but not all of them. Never assume that because you have the right of way or because you’re clearly visible that drivers will stop, especially with adaptive cruise control and self-driving cars. Make sure to be extra careful of where and how you cross the street, make yourself easy to spot, and stay well off of the road when possible. The same goes for driveways and delivery entrances.
Check Treats Before Consuming – Lieutenant Howard, Arizona
Finding candy with harmful things like razor blades or chemicals added in is way more rare than people think, but not impossible. Even so, it’s always smart to inspect all of your treats before eating them, even if it’s for freshness or allergens. With as many houses as kids go to, there are bound to be expired items, or some with open packaging.
Communicate Emergency Plans – Sergeant Ramirez, Michigan
No matter how old we get, trouble still happens, and Halloween is one of the worst nights every year for bad decisions. Whether your plans are for trick or treating or going on a pub crawl, make sure someone knows what your plans are. Check in every so often, even if it’s just a text for proof of life.
Halloween is one of the most enjoyable and weird nights of the year, to the joy and chagrin of kids, parents, party goers, and emergency services. Ghosts and ghouls roam the streets, parties are everywhere, and fall has kicked in full swing. The evening can be even better if everyone gets home safely, and law enforcement gets to sit in their cruisers bored and emergency free, so following a few easy guidelines seems like a fair trade.