Think safety first this Halloween

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Local officials are hoping for more treats than tricks for residents celebrating through the Halloween weekend, urging parents to plan safely and ensure children use caution.

Not much has changed in terms of Halloween safety precautions over the years, but area police departments are reminding everyone to be extra careful.

“Normally what we see as far as calls around Halloween is criminal mischief with kids,” said Assistant Chief Mike Harmon with the Cedar Park Police Department. “We get calls of younger kids being picked on by older kids and things like that, mainly because they are not being supervised or escorted. If you have younger children going out to trick or treat, whether it’s a parent or other adult, escort the younger kids while they are out.”

Both area police departments – Leander and Cedar Park – are offering alternatives to traditional trick or treating.

There are a lot of alternatives for the kids to participate in this weekend, and these are great because they offer a controlled environment,” said Assistant Chief Jeff Hayes with Leander Police Department. “Those events are well lit, well attended and they make the parents feel like it is a safer environment. In the old days, people really new their neighborhoods and their neighbors. Today we don’t always know the people down the street or on the next block and we don’t always feel comfortable going door to door as much anymore.”

To that end, both departments are offering their own take on Trunk or Treat, in addition to the City of Cedar Park’s Halloween in the Hall.

Halloween in the Hall, 450 Cypress Creek, Bldg. 1, is from 3-5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 31 with the police department’s Trunk or Treat, 911 Quest Pkwy following from 6-8 p.m.

Up the road to the north will be Leander Police Department’s Trunk or Treat, 1500 S. Hwy 183, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with decorated cars, a costume contest and lots of treats.

“Trunk or Treat combines something for the kids and the adults,” Hayes said of the Leander event. “It hasn’t just grown, it has exploded. Last year we had over 2,000 people at our event. It is one of many stops for a lot of folks.”

In Cedar Park, Harmon said families can expect lots of treats, photos and games.

“Halloween in the Halls, where parents can take kids to trick or treat in city hall, provides for a safe and fun experience,” he said. “Then we have trunk or treat here at the police department, where we will have a number of cars in the parking lot, some decorated, and kids can come and receive candy there and see the cool cars. If parents are anxious or nervous about being out in the neighborhood, these are great options for having a good, safe time.”

No matter what kind of fun is on the agenda, officers urge the following precautions:

• Don’t drink and drive when attending adult parties.

• With all the national headlines and concern, avoid the clown costumes.

• Wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight so children can be seen.

• Always look both ways before crossing the road.

• Drive slowly in neighborhoods and don’t be distracted by phones or other things.

• Inspect your kids’ candy when you get home.

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