Danger lurks amid Halloween fun

Police: Bewareof road hazards, mischief, candy

Halloween is a time to expand one’s imagination, explore the community and enjoy as many sweets as your trick-or-treat bag can carry. While enjoying the spookiest time of year, local officials warn residents to be observant of vehicles, mischief and health hazards.

Hundreds of children roaming the street, energized by excitement and sugar, can create danger on the roadways.

Lt. Kevin Keefe of the Town of East Fishkill police recommends that parents stay close to young children when crossing streets or running to and from houses. He advises residents to wear light-colored clothing and to use a flashlight to maintain visibility.

“Parents need to be mindful of their own safety while walking on roads with their children,” he said. “Keep in mind some motorists aren’t always courteous enough to slow down.”

Children are four times more likely to be hit by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“While Halloween lands on a Wednesday this year, many festivities often take place throughout the weekend before, putting a large number of both youth and adult partygoers on the road at that time,” said Donna Galasso, assistant director for traffic safety for AAA New York.

Keefe said police attempt to lock down on hazardous driving and issue many speeding tickets on the holiday.

Sgt. Bryan Kronk said City of Poughkeepsie police heavily monitor areas with high volumes of trick-or-treaters on Halloween and the night before. He said police saturate Hooker Avenue and the area from Clinton Street to Grand Avenue.

Kronk said residents need to be attuned to mischief and small property crimes such as smashing pumpkins, throwing eggs and tossing toilet paper. He advises homeowners to leave a side light of their house on to discourage that behavior if they are not around, but not to leave a porch light on because people might assume they are home.

Keefe adds that families should bring their cars in the driveway or garage and report unusual noises late at night.

Another issue is young adults who venture to parties.

For example, parties surrounding the State University of New York at New Paltz increase on Halloween, and the college students pose an increased danger, Town of New Paltz Police Chief Joseph Snyder said. Police must contend with underage drinking, driving while intoxicated and noise complaints, but no more than usual.

“We’ve seen a major reduction to damage to property on Halloween,” Snyder said.

Police increase patrols before and after the holiday and are on lookout for drunken drivers. He advises drivers to be very alert and not to wear masks.

It’s important for parents to keep in contact with teenage children, Keefe said.

Those who decide to drink are encouraged to walk in large groups to their destination using well-lit streets or to take a taxi, Kronk added.

The American Heart Association said it’s important for families to maintain a healthy diet while snacking on Halloween goodies. The association recommends that people have a healthy meal before going out, set a goal of how many houses to walk to and provide healthy snacks such as raisins. If there’s an excess of candy after the holiday, parents should avoid the urge of buying on-sale treats, pair candy with a healthy snack and buy back candy from their children with fun activities.

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