HELENA – In just over a week, children around the Helena area will take to the streets, trick-or-treating and collecting candy. Law enforcement is reminding families to stay safe over the holiday.
Sgt. Matt Reighard, with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office, said many families ask them for advice this time of year.
“Commonly we get questions from parents on what to do, how to be safer this time of the season with Halloween approaching,” he said.
Reighard said law enforcement is most concerned with making sure kids stay safe while they go around the neighborhoods. He said families should know where they’re going ahead of time.
“Start out by having some kind of designated plan in place, a route of where you’re going to go and how you’re going to walk through that neighborhood,” he said.
He recommends setting a place for everyone to meet – like the parents’ vehicle – in case anyone gets separated.
Since the evenings are getting dark earlier, Reighard said people may want to use reflective or lighted items.
“The glow sticks, the glow lights, the bracelets, the necklaces that they do sell in the community are a good thing to start with for the children,” he said. “That way you can keep eyes on them. Even for parents to wear, too, so their kids can see the parents as they’re looking back.”
Reighard said it’s important for kids to know their phone number. For younger kids, one idea is to write the number on their wrist, then cover it with a liquid bandage so that it won’t come off.
As always, the normal safety advice for crossing the street still applies.
“Watch the roads, make sure they’re looking both ways when they cross,” said Reighard. “Holding hands with other children that they’re with and parents is always preferred.”
Of course, there are also many public community events where families can trick-or-treat. The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Reserves will hold their own event on Halloween, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the county fairgrounds. The Little Tykes Trick or Treat in downtown Helena will be open to kids 12 years old and younger from 1 to 4 p.m.