Children should have fun on Halloween, but they should also be careful, the crime prevention coordinator for the Lawrence police department said.
Don Gardner, who heads the city's crime prevention efforts, said parents and children can avoid problems on Halloween by taking precautions.
"Number one is be safe out on the streets," Gardner said.
Children should wear light clothing, carry flashlights and should be accompanied by a parent or other adult, Gardner said.
When trick-or-treating, parents should check the food and candy their children receive.
"Have parents cut open foods like apples and oranges," Gardner added. "Be real careful about taking food that's not wrapped."
Gardner also said parents should supervise a "manageable" group of children.
"PARENTS ought to be reminded to not have too many kids where they can't take care of them," he said. "And don't haul a bunch of them around in one car."
Gardner said police prefer children to trick-or-treat before total darkness.
Lawrence doesn't usually experience many problems on Halloween, but parents and children should still take precautions, Gardner said.
The Insurance Information Institute, based in New York City, offers the following safety tips:
Make sure costumes aren't loose-fitting garments that could cause a child to trip and fall.
Use makeup instead of masks. Some masks can obstruct vision.
Make sure all costumes are made of non-flammable material.
Keep lighted jack-o'-lanterns or candles away from children and flammable materials.
Inspect all treats before allowing children to eat them.
IN ADDITION, the Lawrence police department offers these tips:
Unpackaged items such as popcorn and small candies should be discarded, as well as candy with loose or torn wrappings.
Use reflective tape on the costume for additional visibility.
Sharp or pointed toy weapons should be avoided.
Trick-or-treat in your family's neighborhood.
Gardner said children should be allowed to have a fun Halloween, but he said accidents can happen if parents and children aren't careful.
"But we're pretty calm around here," Gardner said. "We have a lot of officers out on the street on Halloween."
AREA NURSING homes are offering "Safe Site Trick-or-Treating" sponsored by the Lawrence Activities Directors Assn. Treats will be offered from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at:
Heritage Manor, 1800 W. 27th.
Valleyview Care Home, 2518 Ridge Ct.
Lawrence Presbyterian Manor, 1429 Kasold.
Colonial Manor, 3015 W. 31st.
Cedar Wood Living Center, 205 N. Mich.
Treats also will be offered from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Brandon Woods Retirement Community, 1501 Inverness Dr.
Downtown merchants also will get involved in Halloween. A parade for children will begin at 4:45 p.m. at South Park. Judges will be on hand to choose the best costumes, and prizes will be awarded.
Starting at 5:30 p.m., downtown merchants will distribute candy to trick-or-treaters. Trick-or-treating will begin at South Park and end at the Lawrence Riverfront Plaza. Merchants in the plaza will begin distributing candy at 7 p.m.
For more information about the parade and trick-or-treating downtown, call Downtown Lawrence at 842-3883.