The spooky holiday that nearly every child in this country loves (at least until the candy hangover the next morning) is upon us again. Halloween, which can be dated back to the Celtic age thousands of years ago, has evolved from family trips to pumpkin patches, carving jack-o’-lanterns and trick-or-treating into a multibillion dollar industry.
Here are a few fun facts (more like mind-boggling statistics) about Halloween: 90 million pounds of chocolate are sold the week prior to the holiday. Celebrating the “spirit of Halloween” is so financially demanding that almost $7 billion will be spent overall, with $1.9 billion spent on candy alone.
While the sugar highs and calorie intakes increase, so does criminal activity and the potential risk of something happening to trick-or-treaters. In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that there were over 41 million potential trick-or-treaters between the ages of 5 and 14. There were reportedly 115 million occupied housing units, all of which are potential stops for those in search of candy.
So what tips do tri-state area law enforcement officials have to share with families to ensure that everyone has a safe and fun Halloween night?
Wallace County Sheriff Larry Townsend:
“The biggest concern we have in smaller communities is little kids running out in the street with traffic driving by. Be aware and stick with mom and dad and watch out for traffic. Also, let mom and Dad go through that bag of candy before the kids begin consuming it. Throw away any candy that looks to be already opened just to be safe.”
Greeley County Sheriff Mark Rine:
“On Halloween, like many other departments in the area, we go to the schools where we give out goody bags full of candies and toys while giving them safety tips for that night. The Sheriff’s office buys glow sticks every halloween and we hand them out to children so they can tie them to their costumes, wrists, or jacket zipper.”
Wichita County Sheriff Randy Keeton:
“Parental supervision is very important for the young kindergarten-through-sixth-grade kids who go out trick-or-treating.
Logan County Sheriff Pat Parsons:
“Our two biggest fears as parents are our kids being involved in an accident with a vehicle or our kids being taken. Kids are after one thing: the candy. Let’s use common sense as a parent walking with your kids and as adults driving a vehicle to ensure everyone has a happy and safe Halloween.”
Gove County Sheriff Allan Weber:
“When you are driving in a residential area, slow down your vehicle more than usual, be sure to have your headlights on and beware of the children running around with reflector bags or glow sticks.”
Sheridan County Sheriff Brian Fenner:
“Parents need to help plan where kids who are trick-or-treating on their own can go. For example, parents can visit the KBI website where they can punch in any town name and it will list all registered sex offenders in the area.”
Cheyenne (KS) County Sheriff Cody Beeson:
“It’s important for kids to have a pre-planned route and stick to that route when trick-or-treating so everyone can be safe and enjoy their Halloween.”
Kit Carson County Undersheriff Robert Furrow:
“Drivers need to be aware of pedestrians, especially kids in costumes who have masks that cover their face and limit vision. Children who are out may not always look both ways before crossing the street, so it’s important for drivers to be extra cautious.”
—This story and its content was written and compiled by Beau Tiongson. Special thanks to all the County Sheriff’s Department for their help