Halloween is a fun night, but children must take precautions to keep it that way.
That’s the message the Ontario Provincial Police is spreading to elementary school children through their first annual Project Safe Halloween program, which launched at Whitefish Valley Public School Monday.
“Every year I tell the children to make sure when they get home to roll the candies out on the table and have an adult check your candies before you eat them,” OPP Const. Diana Cole advised.
“We’ve had instances where a pin has been inserted into a small chocolate bar. We want to make sure every child is safe and nothing like this happens.”
Grade 4 student Mya Paterson was attentive throughout the demonstration, and said the thought of people tampering with candy is scary, but her parents do a good job of screening it before she has a chance to dig in.
“You have to inspect your candy before you eat it because there could be pins or something in it that could hurt you,” Paterson said, who will be dressing up as a zombie on Thursday.
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In addition to inspecting the goodies, Cole preached other safety precautions for the children.
She stressed that children should never, under any circumstances, should go into a stranger’s house.
Student Ella Fawcett, who will be in costume as Lady Gaga for Halloween, shared some other tips she picked up.
“Don’t pet animals even if you know them, and trick or treat in groups or with a friend at the very least,” Fawcett said.
Cole suggested children should wear bright costumes to be visible in the dark and would rather children use face paint other than wearing masks. She also recommended using reflective tape to increase visibility.
The OPP is providing children with glow sticks to hear on Halloween night, as well as an information brochure and activity sheet.
While this is the first year for the program, Cole regularly goes to schools each year to talk about Halloween safety.
The initiative started in Rainy River and has been adopted by the provincial police throughout much of the region.
After Whitefish Valley, Cole is scheduled to meet with students at McKenzie Public School, Gorham Ware Public School as well as Upsala.
Tampered candy is something parents and children still have to deal with.
“Unfortunately we still do have reports,” Cole said. “You would hope in this day and age that it wouldn’t be happening.”
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