As Greenwich celebrates Halloween, police share safety tips

Children from Family Centers marched up Arch Street and onto Greenwich Avenue as part of the annual Halloween celebration. — Ken Borsuk photo

Children from Family Centers marched up Arch Street and onto Greenwich Avenue as part of the annual Halloween celebration. — Ken Borsuk photo

Greenwich is in the spooky spirit on Halloween as a night of hopefully candy filled trick or treating was preceded by a day of school Halloween parades around town. Family Centers preschool kicked off the festivities this morning and Hamilton Avenue School and Old Greenwich School are among others that will dress up this afternoon.

More costume pictures will appear in the Nov. 7 edition of the Post.

Meanwhile, since it’s the most frightening day on the calendar (that isn’t Election Day at least) and the Greenwich Police Department is urging parents and trick-or-treaters to take care today.

In a press release issued by the department, Chief of Police James Heavey requested the cooperation of businesses and residents in town, urging them to leave lights on during Halloween. Chief Heavey said that outside lights being left on can be a deterrent to vandalism and that residents should get in the habit of putting on their outside lights all year round on a timer or install a motion detector. It deters not only vandals, he said, but other crime as well.

When candy-hungry youngsters go out trick-or-treating today, the police said, parents should accompany younger children and they should end it by 8 p.m. since it is a school night. As a precaution, parents should stress the refusal of unwrapped candy and examine fruit before eating. Also, children should wear light-colored clothing or reflective clothing when dusk sets in. Several toy manufacturers now make flashlights just for Halloween, which help as well.

But Halloween has become notorious not just for candy but for pranks, and police said that anyone involved in criminal mischief will be promptly arrested and parents will be held responsible for any damage done by their children.

“We want to remind motorists to strive for the safe operation of their vehicle,” Chief Heavey said in the press release. “If you are driving children around a neighborhood, have them exit and re-enter the vehicle only at the curbside. If you are the driver, refrain from wearing a mask or costume that could obscure your vision, and make sure you put the car in park before people exit and enter the vehicle.”

Police said parents should know where their children are and that cooperation with the department will make for a fun night for everyone.

“By working together we can continue to keep Greenwich a safe community,” Chief Heavey said.

The department issued the following safety reminders for motorists:

• Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic laws.

• Exercise extreme caution when driving a vehicle. Be on the alert for excited youngsters darting out in traffic whose vision may be obscured by masks.

• Enter and exit driveways with caution.

• If you are driving children around the neighborhood, make sure they enter and exit the car on the curbside.

• Drivers should not wear a mask or a costume that makes it difficult to move their arms and legs while driving.

• Designate a driver for “adult parties.”

Parents and children should also be on their guard and:

• Report any suspicious or criminal activity to the Police Department immediately.

• Use costumes with light- or bright-colored material and trim.

• Check to see that the costume does not interfere with walking.

• Encourage children to use face paint or makeup rather than hoods, wigs or masks that can block vision.

• Teach children not to cut across yards.

• Do not accept rides from strangers.

• Check all treats before the children eat the candy and other Halloween goodies. Discard any homemade or unwrapped treats.

• Restrict trick-or-treating visits to homes with porch or outside lights on.

• Don’t go into homes.

• Give children a flashlight and fresh batteries so they can see and be seen.

• Children should trick-or-treat in groups and never alone. An adult should accompany children.

• Set a time limit for your children to trick-or-treat. Designate a specific route for them to take.

• Children should obey all pedestrian safety laws: Wait for green lights, walk, never run into the street, look left, right, then left again before entering the street traffic. Cross only at street corners and never between parked cars.

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