Keeping kids safe this Halloween

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police wants to help kids and parents enjoy trick-or-treating this year safely.

Illinois FOP President Chris Southwood says, “Illinois' law enforcement officers urge everyone to make sure the only scares this Halloween are the make-believe kind.”

Here are this year's tips:

-Children should only go trick-or-treating with a responsible adult. Be sure to follow all local ordinances regarding trick-or-treating times, ages, and areas.

-If you can't accompany your younger children as they trick-or-treat, make sure at least one, and preferably more, responsible adults go with them.

-Set a curfew for the children and make sure they understand how important it is to arrive back home on time.

-Instruct children that they should never go into a stranger's house or car unless their parents or other trusted adults are with them and say it's OK. They should never go anywhere with a stranger, and if a stranger tries to make them go somewhere they should scream as loudly as possible and run to safety as quickly as they can.

-Make sure kids know how to safely cross streets – look in both directions, and only use crosswalks or well-lit street corners. Tell them to not cut through back alleys and fields and to stay in well-lit areas with lots of people around.

-Know the route your children will take while trick-or-treating if you are not going with them. Have them check in at set times, either by phone or by stopping back by your residence.

-Make sure your children have costumes that are fire retardant, contain reflective strips or material, do not obstruct their vision or movement, and that any props that depict knives or other sharp objects are made of a dull, flexible material. Have at least one flashlight per group of trick-or-treaters. Try to make each child's costume unique in some way so they can be easily spotted.

-Serve your children a filling meal before they trick-or-treat so they won't be tempted to eat the treats before they get back home. Carefully examine all of the treats before you let your children handle or consume them.

-Several days before trick-or-treating, check the local and state sex offender websites to see if there are any sex offenders living in your area. If there are, make sure your children avoid those homes.

-Remind children that it is wrong to vandalize property or hurt animals.

-To lessen the chance of allergic reactions, try any makeup products on a small area of a child's arm several days before trick-or-treating to see if they have any reaction.

-If you cannot accompany them, having the children carry a cell phone lets them keep in touch and the phones also contain a GPS chip to help locate lost children.

-Drivers, don't use a cell phone or text while driving and do not drive if you are impaired. Pay close attention while driving, especially at crosswalks, intersections, the side of the road, and by parked cars. Drive below the posted speed limit in residential areas, do not pass vehicles that have stopped in the road, and pull off the road in a safe spot and turn on your emergency flashers when picking up or dropping off children.