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To help everyone have a safe and enjoyable Halloween, the Evanston Police and Fire Departments encourage community members to follow the safety tips below. Official hours for Trick or Treating in Evanston are from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31. Halloween festivities happening in Evanston can be found at visitcityofevanston.org/halloween.

PARENTS

Parent should accompany young children while “Trick or Treating;” carry a flashlight, cell phone, and possibly a first aid kit; plan a route with older children and
agree on a time to “check in” with family; never enter a person’s home; discard unwrapped items and not allow children to eat any candy unless checked by an adult first; cross streets only at intersections; and leave pets at home.

Children going to Halloween parties at others’ homes should look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency. Children should be told to stay away from open  flames, including jack-o’-lanterns with candles in them, and know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. Parents can have children practice stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.

COSTUMES

Costumes should be bright and contain reflective material, and if made at home, should be of materials that will not catch on fire easily; should not have long trailing fabric, which could cause a child to trip or may touch flames in jack-o’-lanterns or other decorations. Children should carry a glow stick, glow necklace or flashlight to be more visible and to help see the path ahead. Costumes that cover a child’s head should be avoided, as these could prevent the child from seeing a vehicle or other hazard. Masks should have eye-holes large enough to see out. Toy guns look real in the dark, so costumes should not contain guns or weapons.

DECORATIONS IN THE HOME

Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily and should be kept away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.

Battery-operated candles or glow-stick in jack-o’-lanterns are safer than candles. Candles inside pumpkins should be lighted with long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Lighted pumpkins should be placed well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways, and yards. Parents should remember to keep exits clear of decorations so escape routes are not blocked and make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.

AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Parents should learn who lives in the houses the children plan to visit and should check the Illinois Sex Offender Registry website at www.isp.state.il.us/sor. Neighborhood Watch Groups should know of the “Trick-or-Treating” times and can walk the neighborhoods to look out for children and suspicious activity.

Children should respect their neighborhood. Although these activities may seem like fun, smashing pumpkins, “egging,” spray painting, and spraying property with shaving cream are all illegal activities that damage a person’s property. Additionally, drinking alcohol in public and drinking under the age of 21 are against the law.

DRIVERS

Children are excited and may be less cautious while walking. Drivers should be more cautious while traveling through residential streets and should not use cell phones while driving.

Before dusk and all evening, drivers should proceed slowly and with lights on in order to see children in costumes.