Plan ahead to keep trick-or-treating safe this Halloween

As people celebrate Halloween by trick-or-treating or attending parties this Sunday, the Prescott Valley and Prescott police departments urge people to plan ahead and keep safety in mind.

Adults attending parties are reminded to use a designated driver so that no one drinks and drives, said Sgt. Brandon Bonney, spokesman for the Prescott Valley Police Department.

Parents taking children trick-or-treating are encouraged to treat them to a spooky and filling dinner to make them less likely to eat the candy they collect before parents can check if for them, Bonney said.

Parents should always accompany school-aged children as they trick-or-treat and make sure they report any suspicious activity to police, said Lt. Andy Reinhardt, spokesman for the Prescott Police Department.

Many people think of Halloween as a time for fun and treats, but nationally, roughly four times as many children aged 5 to 14 are killed while walking on Halloween evening compared with other evenings of the year, Reinhardt said.

"Make sure that older children who are out without parents take along a cell phone, and trick-or-treat in a group along a pre-determined route. And set a firm time for them to come home," said Traces Gordon with the Prescott police crime prevention section.

Tell your children not to go up to people in cars who may call out to them, and remind them to walk on the sidewalk facing traffic, and to only cross the street at the corner, Bonney said.

Make sure all children know their phone number and address in case they get separated, and how to call 911 in an emergency, Bonney said.

Teach children to loudly say, "No, you are not my parent," if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat or leave with them, Bonney said. Also let children know that they should make every effort to get away by running, kicking, screaming and resisting, Bonney said.

When your children get home with their candy, separate out what you will allow them to eat in week or two and then consider handing out the rest to other kids who are trick-or-treating,

Another option is to bring the extra candy from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2, to Dr. Robert Carlisi's dental office at 919 12th Place, Suite 9, in Prescott where your child will be paid $1 for every pound of candy they bring in, said Carissa Dunbar, a dental assistant for Carlisi.

The collected candy will be shipped to U.S. troops overseas as part of Operation Gratitude, Dunbar said.

"Our dentist has a huge heart for the troops and last year we sent 92 pounds of candy to the troops," Dunbar said. "We hope this year is even better."

Also keep your pets' safety in mind by keeping them in a room away from the front door so they don't get frightened by trick-or-treaters and sneak out the door, urges KayAnne Riley, spokeswoman for the Yavapai Humane Society.

If they do sneak out the door, your best bet to get them back is to make sure your pet is licensed, microchipped and wearing-up-to-date identification, Riley said.

Remember that chocolate is poisonous to dogs and cats, so keep them away from the treat bowl. And empty wrappers pose a choking hazard for pets, Riley said.

Keep lit jack-o-lanterns high enough that pets can't knock them over and consider using glow sticks or LED lights instead of candles inside to reduce the risk of getting burned, Riley said.

Consider having your pet wear a decorative collar, which is more comfortable than a costume, and make sure your pet thinks a costume is as much fun as you do before you put one on them, Riley said. Loose-fitting costumes may become tangled, and small pieces can pose a choking hazard, Riley said.