McMinnville Police Department wants children to be safe all year long, but Halloween poses extra challenges as a large number of children are expected to be out after dark.
Because of this, the department will be enforcing the city’s curfew, urging parents to take extra safety measures and asking motorists to show extra care Halloween night.
By existing city ordinance, children under 18 are not allowed out between the hours of 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. on Halloween unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. It is also unlawful for a parent to allow a child under 18 to be out during those hours.
Even before the 9 p.m. curfew, the department is urging parents to walk with children as they trick-or-treat to make sure they look both ways before crossing a street and use caution when going from yard to yard.
“Parents should make sure their child’s costume is appropriate and does not inhibit their ability to walk or see,” said McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton. “Young children should never be allowed to trick-or-treat alone. Avoid walking from yard to yard in unlit areas and use care in crossing the street.”
It is recommended all trick-or-treaters carry a flashlight or a glow stick and wear some form of reflective material. While the light could help prevent bumps in areas of minimal light, the reflective strips will make the child visible to motorists.
If parents want to allow their older children to trick-or-treat without them, they should establish ground rules. Denton says those should include where a child can trick-or-treat and with whom.
“An older child should never be allowed to trick-or-treat by themselves,” Denton said. “They are safer in pairs or in a group. Parents should designate which neighborhood their children should visit and when they must be home. The city’s curfew is 9 p.m., but a parent’s curfew can be before that.”
Treats should never be consumed before they are inspected by an adult. Candy that appears to have been tampered with should be thrown away. Never eat homemade treats from the homes of strangers.
Motorists are asked to use flashers when parked, drive slowly when traveling in residential neighborhoods, and be diligent about watching for children.