On Halloween night, children throughout Sampson County will be dressed as their favorite superhero, mythic creature or storybook princess. And while they travel looking for candy, local officials would like them to know safety is top priority.
Jimmy Thornton, Sampson County sheriff, is encouraging trick-or-treating to be aware of their surroundings.
“They need to know where they’re going,” Thornton said about young trick-or-treaters. “People can do some funny things today. They don’t need to be taking candy from someone they don’t know.”
Thornton also said young children need have supervision from parents or responsible adults.
As an alternative to traveling throughout the streets, he suggested that children and families can attend gatherings at churches or events such as the Clinton’s Halloween on The Square. It’s scheduled to begin Friday, Oct. 30 with a pumpkin and decorating contest at the Sampson Arts Council, Small House, 709 College St. It will continue at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, with the Trunk or Treat on Main Street on the Courthouse Square.
“I think that will be the best option,” Thornton said. “They can still have fun and enjoy the event for what it’s intended for.”
Capt. Donald Edwards of the Clinton Police Department said parents,guardians and chaperons should use reasonable judgement on what time to stop trick-or-treating. He also suggested that participants be visible while out in the streets.
“Just be aware that it’s Halloween and please be careful because there’s going to be a lot of people out,” Edwards said. “We want our children and people trying to enjoy the Halloween to be safe as possible. We want it to be a safe weekend.”
Trick-or-Treating in Newton Grove is allowed from 6 to 8 p.m.
“The best ways to trick-or-treat is to go to houses you’re familiar with,” said Frankie Harrell, Newton Grove Police Chief. “That’s always a better way to do it.”
Mayor Barbara Burch is encouraging residents to use their emergency blinkers so traffic can see stopped cars, if they are participating in activities. She also advised parents to monitor their small children.
“Parents need to get out with small children and don’t let them cross the street (alone),” Burch said.
The Town of Garland is recommending Trick or Treating hours from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Garland Mayor Winifred Murphy provided safety reminders for parents, children and motorists. Some of them included crossing the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks; looking left, right and left again when crossing and to continue to look while crossing; and always walking on sidewalks and paths. If sidewalks are unavailable, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
It was also advised that children 12 and under, should not be alone without adult supervision.
In Salemburg and Roseboro, trick-or-treating hours are set for 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.
“I would say the earlier the better,” Thornton said in regards to staying safe.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.