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Friday, May 6, 2016

Safety's the key during Halloween

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brooke Noakes and Zackery Flynn dressed up as Cinderella and a cowboy for Mammoth Spring's Spooktacular last weekend in hopes of getting lots of treats. Photo by Janie Flynn
The decorations are all in place. The pumpkins have been carved, and kids have their costumes and celebrations all planned out. Halloween is here, but there's no need for Halloween to be any more scary for parents than a frightening costume or eerie sound effects.

In study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1975 through 1996, they found that, "the number of childhood pedestrian deaths increased fourfold among children on Halloween evenings when compared with all other evenings."

"With excited kids frantically going from neighbor to neighbor, drivers need to be particularly cautious," Ray Palermo, director of public information for Teachers' Insurance Plan said. "However, by following some simple advice, parents, children, drivers and homeowners can all have a safe, enjoyable time."

Some tips for drivers on Halloween night are to be careful and use high beams if needed, drive slowly especially in populated areas where trick-or-treaters are sure to be everywhere and not paying attention to traffic and darting from behind parked cars.

Not only do parents have to worry about their kids' safety on the streets going from door to door, but they also have to worry about who might be lurking behind those doors to lure their children into their homes. Sexual predators are also a real danger to children during Halloween. Below is a list of all registered level 3 and 4 sex offenders in Fulton County and their addresses so parents can avoid areas where they live. This list was supplied by the Fulton County Sheriff's office.

Level 3

Marshal Armstead, 2000 Block of Elmcreek Trail, Mammoth Spring.

Ricky Foster, Music Hall Lane, Mammoth Spring.

Dale Koelling, 6000 Block Pleasant Valley Road, Mammoth Spring.

Joel Waters, 500 Block Tate Street, Mammoth Spring.

Christopher Baker, 13000 Block of Highway 63 South, Hardy.

Ronnie Branscum, Magnolia Road, Salem.

Donald Britt, Wheeling Road, Salem.

Jerry Butler, 800 Block Fairview Road, Salem.

Jerry Hatman, 200 Block Byron Road, Salem.

Donald Hutcheson, 600 Block Highway 62/412 West, Salem.

Donnie McKinnon, 28 Rock Store Lane, Salem (Byron area).

Donald Cheesman, 800 Block Little Woods Road, Elizabeth.

Thomas Highfill, 2000 Block Candlewood Road, Viola.

Level 4

Leslie Leon Newman, Doe Run Circle, Salem.

This information is strictly for the purpose of child safety and is not to be used in any way to harass the occupants of these addresses.

Though the state of Missouri has a law pertaining to sex offenders on Halloween, Arkansas does not. Missouri's law tells sex offenders to stay in their homes and avoid contact with children on Halloween. They must also put a sign out in their yard saying they don't have candy, to keep trick-or-treaters away.

Arkansas police advise parents to check sex offender Web sites to see which houses to avoid.

Trick-or-treaters can follow some safety tips, too. Children should be either with an adult or traveling from door to door in a group. Trick-or-treaters can put reflective tape on their costume and carry light tubes or a flashlight so they can be seen more easily. They need to be careful if they plan on wearing a mask because some of them obscure peripheral vision. Makeup and face paint are preferred. Trick-or-treaters need to stay on sidewalks. If none are available, they should walk facing the lane of traffic.

Parents need to make sure their children have eaten a good meal before they leave so they won't be snacking on their treats before they reach home. Parents should also check their children's candy to make sure it's safe. Tell children not to eat unwrapped candy and to stay away from people they don't know.

Homeowners can do their part in keeping children safe during Halloween as well. If homeowners have a candle-lighted jack-o-lantern or any other flame-lighted decoration, they need to keep it out of the way in a place where trick-or-treaters can't get to it and burn themselves or start a fire. Homeowners can also clear their yards of any debris that might make trick-or-treaters trip. A light in the doorway can also help trick-or-treaters find their way easily to the front door to receive their treats.

Following all of these safety tips can help parents and little trick-or-treaters have a fun and safe time this Halloween.

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