It’s here! It’s here! Halloween is here!
Sorry, I get excited about Halloween. I don’t really understand why this holiday isn’t considered to be on par with the big national holidays, like July 4 and Thanksgiving. It sort of trumps them both, after all. When do you feel more thankful than when full of free candy, given by strangers? When do you feel more free than when three months worth of sugar is coursing through your blood stream? I propose a new holiday, Thankhallowfourth, in which we don costumes and jam M-80s up the rears of candied turkeys, and scrape the delicious gunk off the walls for dinner.
But, this Halloween, as all Halloweens, we should remember to be safe. Aside from my crazed fantasies, it appears this holiday is actually
wasted on geared towards children. And wherever the nexus of “children” and “strangers” meet, especially when candy is involved, we ought to take special precautions. Here are a few tips we’ve cobbled together from the local NYPD precincts and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office to ensure you have a safe and happy Halloween.
- Trick-or-treaters should always have adult supervision, even if they are traveling with a group of friends.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times; be familiar with the neighborhood you plan on visiting.
- Avoid poorly-lit areas and homes of people you do not know.
- Avoid displaying your valuables or electronic devices.
- Thieves will use this holiday to hide behind a mask to commit crimes.
- Do not use your cellphones when crossing streets.
- Place emergency identification information discreetly inside clothing of small children, in case of accidental separation.
- Halloween treats should only be consumed if they are packaged appropriately in their original, unopened packages. Avoid homemade or unpackaged treats.
- Avoid hallways and deserted areas that are dimly lit.
- Do not enter a stranger’s home or car.
- Walk on the sidewalk and not in the street.
- Do not wear costumes that block your view.
- Do not wear clothing or accessories that suggest that you are affiliated with a gang. [Drats. I bought my Latin Kings outfit for nothing.]
- Carry flashlights and wear reflective clothing at night.
- Explain to children of all ages the difference between tricks and vandalism which could be a criminal offense.
If you feel that you are in any kind of danger, you can go into one of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Safe Stop locations for safety. Safe Stop locations are specially designated stores or places of business where people can go in case of an emergency, where you can access help and information. Participating merchants have a decal displayed in their window, indicated that they are a Safe Stop location. Participants are trained to know what to do in case of an emergency.
I feel obligated to add one more: if you’re the parent of a teenager in Gerritsen Beach, lock up the hammers and potatoes this year.