David B Shoar
St Johns County Sheriff
Our goal at the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office is that the age-old custom of “trick or treat” on Halloween is an enjoyable adventure for everyone; so I would like to pass along some safety tips to keep in mind as your children go on their way.
Children should only be allowed to trick or treat at familiar homes or businesses.
They should trick or treat while it’s still light outside, or they should carry a flashlight so they can see and be seen easily. Establish a time when they should be home and know the route your children will take.
Costumes, including masks and wigs, should be flame resistant; they should also be light in color and clearly visible to motorists. Avoid costumes that are oversized and high-heeled shoes that can cause a child to trip. The costumes should have reflective strips as well.
Children should be reminded to only cross streets at the corners and never cross between parked cars.
Young children should never be allowed to go out alone and older children should only go out with small groups.
Tell your family which streets you will travel. Let your children know not to cut through back alleys and fields. Make sure they know to stay in populated places and don’t go off the beaten path. Stay in well-lit areas.
Children always want to help with the pumpkin carving. Small children shouldn’t be allowed to use a sharp knife to cut the top or the face. There are many kits available that come with tiny saws that work better than knives and are much safer, although you can be cut by them as well. It’s best to let the kids clean out the pumpkin and draw a face on it, which you can carve for them.
If you will be out driving on Halloween, please take extra time and watch for children darting in and out from between parked cars. Slow down and pay attention. Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. Enter and exit driveways and alleys very carefully. And always watch for children that may be wearing dark clothing.
Feed your children a spooky Halloween dinner and instruct them not to eat any treats until an adult can examine them. Also remind your child to never go into the home of a stranger or get into their car.
Make Halloween a fun, safe and happy time for your children in hopes that they will carry on the tradition that you taught them and remember; if you see suspicious activity please call the Sheriff’s Office or your local law enforcement agency and report it.
I would also like to let you know that many of our deputies and volunteers are putting the final touches on the annual Horror Zone haunted house. This is the 12th annual Horror Zone and is expected to be the best one yet.
We will be returning this year to 2497 US-1 South. The popular Halloween attraction will be open between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on the last three weekends of October (Friday and Saturday), and on Wednesday, October 31.
For additional information and a sneak preview you can check out their website at www.horror-zone.net. Personally, I think this is one of the finest haunted houses in this area and you will not want to miss it.
Have a Spooktacular Halloween and stay safe. Please feel free to contact me if you have a topic you would like to see addressed in this column. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.