Clad in an old-time striped prison uniform, Saanich police Const. Daniela Frohloff tells a group of Strawberry Vale elementary students that safety on Halloween night shouldn’t be an afterthought.
Const. Dani – as the kids call her – was purposefully lax on historical accuracy for safety’s sake, as her Styrofoam ball and chain dangles from her neck, as opposed to her ankle.
“This is what the prisoners used to wear a long time ago. They’d have a big, heavy ball and chain that would be around their ankle so that they couldn’t run away,” Frohloff tells the Grade 3, 4, and 5 students.
“Well I can’t wear that down on my ankle as part of my costume, can I? I’d be tripping all the time. You can still tell I’m a prisoner but I’ve made my costume safe. I want each of you to think about what you’re going to be for Halloween and think about how to make your costume safe.”
Among the costume-related safety tips are ensuring clothing isn’t too long or bulky, and wearing make-up over a mask. If you do wear a mask, make sure the eye holes are large.
While the eerie Halloween fog has lingered in the Victoria air off and on for the past couple weeks, its presence could make visibility on Halloween night especially limited. Trick-or-treaters should ensure they can see and can be seen. Wearing reflective tape or bright costumes are one way to be seen, but carrying a flashlight is a smart way to ensure you can always see where you’re going.
“We teach this at the schools because we want the kids to be safe, but really we’re relying on the adults to watch their kids,” Frohloff says. “It’s common sense stuff to adults: slow them down if they’re running ahead and don’t have them cross through the middle of the street.”
The Saanich police department will have extra members out on Halloween night ensuring Halloween doesn’t get out of hand.
“We ask that if parents are out and about with their children, we’d like them to report if they’re seeing any incidents of fireworks, vandalism, mischief,” Frohloff says.
The Saanich fire department issued around 100 fireworks permits this year, and will be randomly checking to ensure those people who are permitted to discharge fireworks are the only ones doing so.
Frohloff also has safety tips for adults: drivers should be mindful of the fact that there will be a lot more pedestrians out and about Thursday night, many of whom will likely be wearing dark clothes.
“Stick to the speed limits, and maybe slow down in the neighbourhoods – drivers need to be able to see what’s going on in the neighbourhoods,” she says.
Parents and guardians escorting kids around should pre-plan the trick-or-treating route so kids know what to do if they get separated from their group.
“Everyone’s excited it’s Halloween – it’s a fun time of year,” Frohloff says. “We just want people to take some steps to be sure they’re safe on Halloween night.”
Halloween safety tips for kids and parents
-Wear reflective tape or bright colours and travel in groups with an adult
-Kids and/or parents should carry a working flashlight
-Stay on the sidewalk – don’t cross over lawns or go back and forth from one side of the street to the other
-Only trick or treat at houses with the inside and outside lights on
-Trick or treat in familiar neighbourhoods, and make a plan with your kids in case you are separated