Spooky But Safe: Officials Urge Caution As Halloween Approaches

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  OCEAN COUNTY – As spooky season descends upon Ocean County, officials are working to ensure that the only Halloween scares residents see are the fun kind.

  “As Halloween approaches I again ask that our children, parents and drivers pay special attention to safety so everyone can enjoy a safe and spooky holiday,” Freeholder Joseph Vicari said.

  Vicari reminds parents to check in on the Megan’s Law website to be aware of any potential sex offenders that may live in your neighborhood, or neighborhoods where children may be trick-or-treating for candy.

  “This only takes a few minutes and can make a big difference in keeping a child safe,” Vicari said.

  The Megan’s Law website provides a database of up-to-date information on all convicted sex offenders who are residents of New Jersey. Towns, counties, zip codes and even individual streets can be easily reviewed. The database can be accessed through a link on the Ocean County Government Homepage at co.ocean.nj.us.

  In addition, Vicari suggests opting for face makeup over a mask for your Halloween costume, as masks can obstruct a child’s vision making it difficult for them to see oncoming traffic.

  “Wear light-colored clothing or add reflective tape to darker costumes,” he added. “Always carry a flashlight at night.”

  When trick-or-treating, young children should be accompanied by an adult and older children should travel in groups for their safety, Vicari added.

  “Make sure trick-or-treaters know to only approach familiar houses that have outside lights on and never enter a stranger’s home or vehicle,” he said.

  After bringing home your Halloween candy haul, parents should inspect all treats before letting kids consume them. Vicari also reminds everyone to never eat candy that has been opened already.

  As the Halloween season gets on, residents will of course be shopping around for that perfect costume. Vicari encourages residents to purchase their Halloween costumes at a reputable business in Ocean County.

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  “It’s important to check every costume for a flame retardant label,” said Vicari. “Some cheap or counterfeit costumes may not be safe to wear.”

  Lastly, motorists are advised to pay special attention when driving on Halloween. According to federal statistics, children are four times more likely to be struck by an automobile on Halloween than on any other night of the year.

  “In the excitement of the day, trick-or-treaters probably won’t be paying attention to passing motor vehicles, so slow down and drive cautiously,” he said.

  Before heading out for nighttime trick-or-treating, stop by the annual Toms River Halloween Parade on October 31.