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Spooks and goblins should be cautious

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Oct. 31,2 002
Halloween is a favorite holiday for children, but it can also be dangerous.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly four times as many children, aged 5-14, are killed while walking on Halloween evening as compared to other evenings of the year.
Local law enforcement officers are reminding residents to take added precautions.
Trick-or-treating must be completed in Meridian by 10 p.m., and is limited by city code to children under 12.
Lauderdale County does not have trick-or-treating ordinances, but Maj. Ward Calhoun of the sheriff's department said all laws are still enforced, including use of safety belts in vehicles.
He encourages citizens to make Halloween a family outing.
He said children's costumes should be marked with light-colored or reflective tape so they can be easily seen by motorists.
Pedestrians should also cross the street only at crosswalks; do not enter streets between parked cars. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic. Obey traffic signals, and do not cut across yards, driveways or between houses.
Calhoun also said guardians should inspect their candy to make sure it is safe. He said trick-or-treaters should only go to homes of people they know.
Cleve Roberts and his family spend Halloween at a hospital every year.
Roberts, assistant director of radiology at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center, has inspected Halloween candy with X-rays since the tradition began around 1988.
He and his wife, Laurie, and have three children; Bayleigh, 8; Kynsleigh, 4; and Laraleigh, 16 months. They will all be at the hospital tonight dressed as bunny rabbits, and handing out candy to children who come to have their treats checked.
He added that the X-ray will only show metal objects, but that nothing harmful has ever been found in candy brought to the hospital.
Roberts also said children who bring their Halloween candy to be checked must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.