By MIRANDA BAINES AND VAN HOLLAND
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The streets will be filled with ghosts, goblins, witches and superheroes Thursday as children go door-to-door to collect candy and goody bags during the evening.
During the day, some downtown Tarboro merchants are participating in a day-time trick-or-treating event from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.
"We've always had great participation with the event," Tarboro Chamber of Commerce President Bobbie Martin said.
The event is back this year after a one-year hiatus.
Mary Ann Holderness, owner of Rusty's Gifts, said passing out candy to children is something the merchants have enjoyed doing for years.
John Dupree agreed with Holdeness that the downtown area is a safe environment, because it's still light outside.
Dupree, co-owner of Roberson Dupree Shoe Store, said it's good to see people come downtown and they give away a lot of candy.
Even though the hours are set early in the day, Martin said some of the merchants choose to hand out candy later in the day as well. One of those is Roberson Dupree, which expects to hand out candy until 5 or 5:30 p.m.
There are tips and procedures that children and parents should pay attention to during their exciting night out on the town.
"Halloween should be filled with surprises and enjoyment," Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight said. "Following some common sense practices can keep events safer and more fun. Halloween is a fun time, but let's make it a safe time as well."
There are tips for motorists, parents and homeowners to abide by to make sure no accidents happen. The major dangers aren't the little ones dressed up as scary characters, but the trips, falls and pedestrian and car related accidents that occur each year.
Motorists need to watch for children darting out from between parked vehicles and make sure to stay alert for children in dark clothing. Drivers should also watch for trick-or-treaters on roadways, medians and curbs. People driving should also pay attention as other vehicles enter and exit driveways and alleys.
Parents should make sure that an adult or responsible teenager will be supervising their children's outing for the ones who are 12 and younger.
Parents should also check the sex offender registry when planning your child's route by going online (www.ncdoj.gov) and view maps that pinpoint where sex offenders live.
"Plan and discuss the route that you and your children intend to follow," Knight said. "You need to know the names of the older children's companion and make sure they trick-or-treat in a group."
Make sure trick-or-treaters travel in familiar areas that your child may be aware of and make sure to stop at only well lit homes and never let your child enter a stranger's residence.
Parents make sure you have established a time of return for older trick-or-treaters and tell your children not to eat any treats until you get home and can inspect them.
Here are other tips you and your trick-or-treaters and homeowners should follow while on your outing:
• Review all appropriate safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic laws and safety rules.
• All children need to know their phone number and how to dial 911 in case of an emergency
• Pin a slip of paper with your children's name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case your child gets separated from you.
• Only fire-retardent materials should be used for costumes.
• Costumes should be loose, so warm clothes can be worn underneath.
• Costumes shouldn't be too long so children can't trip and fall
• Make sure their shoes fit well.
• Make sure their outfits are made some sort of light colored material or use some sort of reflective tape so they can be seen.
• Don't use masks that can obstruct your child's vision, use facial paint of makeup instead
• If masks are worn make sure they have nose, mouth and eye holes big enough for the child
• Insist that treats not be eaten before you inspect them
• Wash all fruit and slice into small pieces so you can inspect the inside
• Throw away any candy or treats that have been unwrapped before your child receives them
• Throw away any treats that have a weird odor or smell
• Keep candles and jack o'lanterns away from landings or doorsteps where children's costumes can brush against it
• Remove obstructions from the lawns, steps and porches so children or parents don't trip
• Keep candles and lit pumpkins away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles that could catch fire
• Don't leave your home unattended