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FILE PHOTO An adorable scarecrow enjoys Halloween festivities last year at Southern Homes. Ensure costumed children stay safe this season with a few tips and precautions.

Authorities encourage safety tips as Halloween approaches

While no one would like to think people in their area are capable of doing bad things, it is always important to take proper precautions to ensure safety on Halloween.

“It’s sad we even have to talk about stuff like this because everyone would like to think stuff like this couldn’t happen around here, but crazier things have happened,” said Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett. “These are the times we live in.”

Hargett said he recommends trick-or-treaters or other Halloween partiers wear reflective clothing outside at night, especially in areas where there might be higher traffic, to ensure visibility by motorists.

As for motorists, he said it is important around Halloween to make sure to slow down and be aware of surroundings.

“We would hate to have a kid dart out into the road and someone not have enough time to stop,” Hargett said. “Just going slower and being more alert can potentially stop something tragic from happening.”

For home owners, Hargett said a safety precaution is to keep a well-lit house so anyone who approaches can be easily seen and recognized.

Hargett said he would also be leery of groups of older children and adults only, particularly those who have on masks that completely obscure their faces.

To anyone who plans to trick or treat from house to house, Hargett said it is important for an adult to accompany trick-or-treaters.

It is also important to make sure candy and treats have wrappers that are properly sealed to ensure they were not tampered with and be leery of homemade items.

“I hate to say that because I know how much sometimes grandparents will love making homemade popcorn balls or something, but in this day and time, you have to be leery of stuff,” Hargett said. “It’s just easier to stick to the usual candy that’s wrapped to ensure nothing is tampered with.”

He said the safest way to trick or treat is by only going to the houses of people who are friends or family.

One of the easiest ways he trick-or-treaters can stay safe, Hargett added, is by trick-or-treating at events where there will plenty of people and police officers, such as the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Trunks of Treats in downtown Russellville.