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Police department offers safety tips for Halloween trick or treaters, motorists

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — On Halloween night costumed children and their parents will fill the neighborhood streets in Presque Isle, going from house to house in search of candy and treats. But Police Chief Laurie Kelly is urging everyone to take extra safety precautions while on the road.

According to the latest data from the National Safety Council, 7,450 pedestrians died as a result of traffic incidents or incidents that occurred in parking lots, driveways or private property in 2017. Children are more than twice as likely to be struck by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year.

Despite the scary statistics, Kelly said that there are always measures people can take to protect their children. She advises families to look both ways before crossing streets and be especially watchful of traffic, especially when leaving the sidewalk from between parked cars.

Parents can modify costumes to ensure that children are comfortable and can walk more easily.

“Kids should have free movement of their feet, unless they’re an infant in a carrier or stroller,” Kelly said. “Be sure masks and other costume parts that cover the face allow for clear vision, so they can see where they’re going.”

Kelly recommends that children carry flashlights or wear reflective gear to increase their visibility and have candy containers that are easy to carry. While trick or treating, families should only knock on the doors of houses that appear to be “open for business,” with outside lights turned on and Halloween decorations in the yard.

With the increase in pedestrian traffic on Halloween night — which falls on Thursday, Oct. 31, this year — Kelly said that drivers also need to watch for families crossing the streets, drive more slowly than usual and avoid distractions such as cell phone calls and texting.

“For the most part, we’ve had really good luck with folks being patient and accommodating with each other,” Kelly said, about past Halloweens in the city.

She encourages families to stop by the police department headquarters on North Street during their trick or treating.

“We give out candy every year and love to see all the costumes,” Kelly said.

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