NEW PORT RICHEY — Sheriff Chris Nocco plans to increase road patrols on Monday to help ensure a safe, happy Halloween. There are also steps parents and guardians can take to watch after their little princesses and goblins.
If you are taking your children trick-or-treating, the Sheriff's Office recommends you first check for sexual offenders or predators in the neighborhood. Go to offender.fdle.state.fl.us/ and click on "Offender Search."
Deputies on patrol, both in cars and on horseback, will visit neighborhoods and community events to prevent vandalism and watch for any traffic violators who are endangering trick-or-treaters.
Other safety tips from the Sheriff's Office:
• Younger children should always be supervised by adults.
• Parents of older children should know the route their children are taking and any companions that will be with them.
• Set a time to be home and be sure to keep that deadline.
• Stay within your own neighborhood. Do not call on houses of strangers or houses where the outside lights are not on. NEVER GO INSIDE A HOUSE.
• Stay alert. Watch for vehicle and bicycle traffic.
• Be careful if wearing wigs. They block vision and may catch fire if worn near an open flame, such as candles, a campfire or flaming jack-o'-lantern.
• Carry a flashlight, so you can see … and be seen.
• Wear light-colored clothing that's short enough to prevent tripping and add reflective tape.
• Makeup is safer than a mask, which blocks your vision.
• Use small trick-or-treat bags to prevent the chance of tripping.
• Wear regular shoes instead of high heels or oversized shoes to prevent tripping and ankle damage.
• If a costume requires carrying an imitation weapon, make sure that it is made of cardboard or foam rubber.
• Be careful of dogs and other pets. They are more excitable due to all the Halloween activity.
• Only give and accept wrapped or packaged candy.
• Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten. If you feel your children cannot wait that long, give them a snack to carry, or some of the treats you are giving out, to satisfy them until you get home.
Additional tips can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov/family/halloween/.