Safety Tips for Halloween Night in Rochester

by LAWSON ROBINSON

This past weekend there were multiple events held to celebrate the end of October and Halloween. On Saturday, children gathered in Downtown Rochester to take part in trick-or-treating, then the events of the weekend shifted to Sunday’s Scare Away Hunger relay held on South Livernois Road in Rochester Hills.

Last weekend’s Downtown Rochester Trick-Or-Treat included a costume parade, dinner at the fire department, and a movie in the evening. “The event went really well on Saturday. We had over 2,000 people downtown trick-or-treating, parents got involved and were dressed in costumes as well. There were some family themed costumes which was cute,” said events coordinator Jenna O’Dell. “The fire department led the parade. RARA was very successful with their spaghetti dinner at the fire department and we also had the movie in the moonlight where we showed Lego Batman and we had a great turnout.”

The 7th annual Scare Away Hunger event was a success yet again in Rochester Hills. The event has been a local tradition that appeals to both competitive racers as well as families who enjoy strolling. The routes for the Scare Away Hunger relay takes participants through a beautiful and colorful autumn surrounding out to the scenic Clinton River Trail, ending at the Neighborhood House Clothes Closet.

With this past weekend’s events coming to pass, Halloween is right around the corner. For most children, Halloween is a night they look forward to as they try to gather as much candy as possible. However, Halloween can prove to be a headache for parents as they prepare to safely travel from house to house with their children.

Rochester Police Chief Steven J. Schettenhelm has tips for not just the children that are going door to door, but also for parents watching their little monsters.

“There’s a traditional time for parents to take children trick-or-treating, but nothing is set in stone. People are free to trick-or-treat when they like. In Rochester Hills, trick-or-treating starts at about 6 and in Rochester it starts around 7 or 8.” Schettenhelm said. “There are no curfews, nothing out of the ordinary.”

Chief Schettenhelm noted that he and his fellow officers are aiming to have a strong presence on Halloween night to help citizens feel safe. “Our officers will be very visible in the neighborhoods to add an extra layer of safety and to be available should they be needed in the neighborhoods.”

One of the hardest parts of successfully trick-or-treating on Halloween is making sure children are cautious throughout the night. Schettenhelm noted it is hard for children to focus on safety concerns because they are usually so focused on getting candy. He believes it is important for parents to put a priority on providing their children with visible costumes or portable lights.

“We always like to make sure costumes are designed so that kids are able to move easily so there is not a trip hazard. We recommend not wearing a mask so they can see. We also recommend visible clothing, as their minds are on getting candy and get- ting to the next houses. We stress safety when crossing roads and going door to door for the adults with the children. You can go to the store and get the small chem-lights that you can crack and shake and they light up quite well and it is an inexpensive way for them to remain visible.”

On the other end of this situation are parents that drive their children during trick-or-treating. Many parents will gather a large group of children and drive them from neighborhood to neighborhood so the children can get the most candy possible. For these parents, it is important that they are cautious while driving, since there are so many children running throughout the neighborhood.

“We always want the parents to make sure they are super alert on Halloween night for kids that are walking between cars or mid-block crossing,” Schettenhelm said. “Be vigilant driving slowly and cautiously because kids will be crossing across the street and this happens when kids are focused on getting candy as opposed to the normal safety precautions when crossing the street.”