Halloween safety tips from a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy

As most children know, Halloween is Thursday.

Matt Silva works with area youths as a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy assigned to Rancho Cordova and resource officer for the city’s schools. In a conversation Tuesday with The Sacramento Bee, he offered tips on how children can remain safe while trick-or-treating, stressing the importance of being visible to drivers and using good instincts.

What are the primary safety issues on Halloween?

You don’t want to be walking in the middle of the street. Trick-or-treaters should carry some type of flashlight or lantern. Holding an illuminated device or wearing reflective tape is important, especially when one is in dark clothing. Also, stay in well-traveled areas.

Can you give any tips about candy safety?

Parents need to check what type of candy their children get. They need to make sure the candy won’t affect allergies. Only eat candy that is wrapped properly. Make sure the wrapping does not have holes. Discard all candy that is not wrapped and avoid anything homemade.

At what age should children be allowed to go trick-or-treating on their own?

Every kid is different. If you generally let them play outside alone, it’s probably OK for them to trick-or-treat by themselves. Younger children, however, should be accompanied by an adult or a responsible older child. They should not walk by themselves, mainly because it is dark. We don’t want them to get hit by a car.

How many people should go out together?

Safety is in numbers. I would suggest at least two.

What is the most common accident on Halloween?

Accidents typically involve people getting hit by cars because their clothing was too dark. Jaywalking and dark clothing go hand-in-hand. Wearing bright clothing will make you more visible to cars.

Which homes should revelers visit?

Porch lights are a good sign trick-or-treaters are welcome. Common sense applies here. If it does not look like people are handing out candy, don’t go up to the home. Avoid dark homes, although some people decorate their houses to be dark.

What’s the best time to trick-or-treat?

Anytime between 6 to 8 p.m. That’s when people are going to be at home and ready to serve candy.

Where’s the best place to go trick-or-treating?

Normally, people trick-or-treat in their own neighborhood. If parents want to give kids the experience but dislike going door-to-door, community festivals are a good alternative. Shopping malls, churches and other community organizations all offer these events. For a full listing, search the Internet.

Any other Halloween safety tips?

If you don’t feel safe, go somewhere else. Report crimes immediately to law enforcement. Be alert for theft, including grab-and-runs. Candy and holiday decorations are common targets for criminals.