Trick or treat time in Okemah
By Ken Childers
This weekend, the streets of Okemah will be filled with costumed children, some carrying bags and others carrying plastic pumpkins or some other type of container. Ghouls, goblins, superheroes and other assorted characters will ring doorbells and knock on doors then pop an age-old question: Trick or Treat?
Even though the “official” date of Halloween is Oct. 31, trick-or-treating in Okemah will get underway at 8:45 a.m. Friday, as elementary students canvass businesses throughout the downtown district. City-wide trick-or-treating, which includes residential areas, will take place Saturday evening.
To help ensure the trick-or-treat experience is a safe one, ONL has compiled a list of safety tips for children, their parents/guardians and those driving while the masked ones make their rounds.
On the Trick-or-Treat Trail ((From Healthychildren.org):
A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind trick-or-treaters:
Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
Never cut across yards or use alleys.
Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out of driveways.
Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
Tips for drivers (From Automile):
Use your headlights. Even in the daytime, trick-or-treaters are much more likely to see you if you are shining your headlights (not your brights – you don’t want to blind anyone). Especially important in residential areas.
Don’t drive distracted. It’s a good idea anyway to avoid distractions while driving, as distracted driving is the largest cause of motor vehicle accidents. Put your cell phone away, don’t reach for anything until you’re safely stopped, and save your snacks for your destination.
Turn the radio down. We all love to jam out in the car, but Halloween is a time when it’s vitally important to be able to hear what’s going on around you. Have the radio low enough to be able to hear another car’s horn or someone yelling outside. Better safe than sorry.
Drive slower than the posted speed limit. Especially in residential areas. Children get very excited about their candy and won’t always pay attention before darting out in the road to cross the street. Drive slowly so you can respond more quickly, and yield to young pedestrians.
Scan the road, especially at corners or crosswalks. Be alert of your surroundings. Do not assume that children can see you or that they are paying attention. Children are small, harder to see and take longer to cross the street than adults. Many could be wearing dark-colored costumes, so be on alert when driving.
Don’t pass other cars stopped in the street. They could be picking up or dropping off children. Wait several seconds before attempting to pass, and only if you see there are no people near the car. Watch for children when passing parked cars as they often cross the street behind or between them.
Exit driveways and pull onto streets with extreme caution. Children have a harder time judging how a driver will react. They are more likely to think they have the okay to go ahead. Be careful backing out into a street.
Communicate with other drivers. Use your hazards when pulling over to drop off or pick up children to alert drivers behind you to approach with caution. Use your turn signals when changing lanes or turning.
If you see a drunk or unsafe driver on the road, alert law enforcement. Don’t try to get their attention or follow them. If it’s possible to get the license number, report that when you call the police. Note the color and make/model of the vehicle if possible. Alerting law enforcement to dangerous drivers could save a life on Halloween.