The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office wants every child to have a safe and fun Halloween, and Sheriff Tim Knight offers these safety reminders:
- Always trick-or-treat in groups.
- Never allow small children to visit a door without a trusted adult present.
- Remind children to never go inside someone’s home for candy.
- Teach children not to approach cars.
- Only approach well-lit homes where porch or exterior lights are on.
- Cross streets at the corner, never between parked cars and not diagonally across an intersection.
- Avoid taking shortcuts through backyards, alleys, and parks.
- Make sure at least one child has a cellphone and that emergency numbers are programmed and easy to access.
- Eat only factory-wrapped treats and never eat anything homemade from strangers.
- Examine all candy for choking hazards and tampering before allowing children to have any.
- Be cautious around pets and other animals.
- Take a photo of children in their costumes before trick or treating; this will help law enforcement should your child become separated.
- Keep costumes short to prevent children from tripping or falling.
- Make sure masks or head coverings do not hinder eyesight or breathing.
- Try to wear light-colored costumes or add reflective tape to dark clothing.
- Have children carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen.
- Report any and all suspicious activity or persons to law enforcement immediately.
The Sheriff’s Office also advises people to keep their doors locked — even if they are just outside handing out candy — to prevent burglaries. Burglars may use trick or treating as a way to scope out a home, the Sheriff’s Office says, be mindful of what is visible from outside when you open your door.
Attending a public, organized event is another way to ensure a safe Halloween, the Sheriff’s Office says. “Instead of visiting unfamiliar neighborhoods, consider Halloween or fall festivals at malls, churches, or events sponsored by local businesses.”