Zombies running rampant Oct. 31 at the Bluffton Zombie Run in Old Town might make for a frightening encounter, but they will not be the only dangers for trick-or-treaters this Halloween.
Little ghouls and goblins, princesses and superheroes as well as Stormtroopers could face even greater hazards traveling through their neighborhoods that evening.
Maj. Joseph Manning, deputy chief of the Bluffton Police Department, has several recommendations to ensure a safe and fun time.
“Go in groups. Parents should accompany their children if possible,” he said. “And make sure you are comfortable in the neighborhood.”
Wear something that can reflect light or carry a flashlight for greater visibility.
While the goal for youngsters might be to accumulate as much candy as possible, if any of it appears tampered with, dispose of it.
“The Bluffton Police Department will have extra officers on duty patrolling the neighborhoods,” Manning said, “and if something looks suspicious, report it to the police.”
Cinda Seamon, Hilton Head Island Fire and Rescue public education officer, has additional suggestions.
“Make sure your costume is fireproof or flame retardant and that eye holes are large enough for good vision. Better yet – decorate your face,” she suggested.
Princesses and ghosts are well known for having long, glamorous trains and billowing ectoplasm, but keep the trailing material short while walking around the neighborhood.
Stay on the sidewalks and walk, don’t run. Skip houses that are not well lighted.
“Stay away from open flames. If your clothes should catch on fire, make sure you know how to stop, drop and roll,” said Seamon. “Stop immediately, cover your face with your hands and roll over to put out the flames.”
For those adults who get into the spirit(s) of Halloween, keep flames away from where little visitors might walk.
“If you set pumpkins on your porch with candles, make sure they are far enough away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking,” she said. “When lighting candles inside Jack-o’-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches.”
When decorating walkways, Seamon added, avoid using candles or torchlight, as costumes might brush against these. Flashlights are a better choice.
Put the gardening equipment away and clear your front yard of flower pots and anything a child might trip over in the excitement.
Make sure children attending parties know where the exits are, and have a plan for getting out in an emergency.
If you are not going with your children while they trick-or-treat, make sure you know their route.
“Explain the difference between tricks and vandalism – such as throwing eggs at a house or animal cruelty,” Seamon said. “Stay away from and don’t pet animals you don’t know.”
As for making certain the chewy, sugary bounty is safe, Seamon offers the suggestion that if children have a good dinner before they go trick or treating, they will be less likely to eat their candy before parents have a chance to check it.
If children and adults survive the 5k and 1-mile fun run through the Zombie Graveyard Oct. 31 at 3 p.m. at the Calhoun Street Promenade, they should survive a haunting good time by following these ideas for a safe Halloween.
For more information about the event, and to register, visit www.bearfootsports .com/BlufftonMile.
Gwyneth J. Saunders is a veteran journalist and freelance writer living in Bluffton.