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Avoiding Halloween woes
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Wednesday, Oct. 31 brings us Halloween again. Ninety-nine percent of the events and activities that take place on Halloween are fun, safe and entertaining. There are a few things to be cautious about, however.

The most common Halloween-related problems involve older kids harassing and taking candy from younger, unescorted kids. This is fairly easy to prevent by having a sufficient number of adults who have cell phone and two-way family radios for urgent communications.

Traffic incidents are a more common problem. Kids are prone to darting out from between cars; they run across streets and are often wearing dark costume clothing. It is always best to travel in groups and in doing so, stay on sidewalks, carry flashlights and blinking lights for traffic safety purposes. Motorists must be extremely careful when driving anywhere through the city on Halloween night. It is advisable to drive no more than 5 mph or 10 mph when kids are present. It has to be expected that the kids are excited, having fun, and not paying enough attention to traffic safety - so us motorists have to exercise the caution for them.

Another threat, while uncommon, has to do with adults who are interested in kids for the wrong reasons. This too is easy to combat by traveling in groups accompanied by several responsible adults. It also helps to educate kids about the potential for these problems and how to recognize and react to them.

Contaminated candy is a highly-publicized problem, but again, somewhat rare. The vast majority of our citizens are good people and would never think to harm a child in any way. Nevertheless, the preventative steps to take include avoiding home-made consumables, unless you know and are comfortable with the people providing such foods. Over the years there have been stories of razor blades, pins, and other hazards being inserted into wrapped candies, even ones commercially made. It is always wise to inspect all candies in any event for signs of package tampering, staleness, etc. There is no reason to be paranoid; just be alert and use good judgment as you deal with these issues.

On the positive side of things, the city of Ceres Recreation Department, in conjunction with the Ceres VFW Womens' Auxillary and Ceres Senior Citizens Club are hosting this year's Ceres Halloween Festival at Smyrna Park, 2650 Fowler, Ceres. It is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This event will include candy for children under 14, harvest photos, a fortune teller, petting zoo, refreshments and many more fun activities. It will be a safe event with plenty of adults, police officers and firefighters on hand. I look forward to seeing you all there.