Thousands of children will don their scariest outfits and head to neighborhoods around the parish on Wednesday, hoping that they might be able to put enough fright in those homeowners to be rewarded with bags full of candy.
But Capt. Pat Yoes, the spokesman for the St. Charles Parish Sheriffís Office, says they need to be careful. Yoes says that all young children need to have adult supervision throughout their trek for goodies. Itís also better if trick-or-treaters head out early in the evening.
"The earlier the better," Yoes said. "Itís always best to finish up and get home before it gets too late."
Children and parents should also wear some sort of reflective material and be sure to only trick-or-treat in areas where they know people.
"Itís very important to only trick-or-treat at homes that you are familiar with," Yoes said. "Donít go to a home unless you know the person that lives there."
And once kids do get candy, Yoes says they need to wait until they get home before eating any of it.
"That way, their parents can check it to make sure itís safe," he said. "Itís important to only eat candy that is wrapped or sealed. We know some people like to make homemade treats, and thatís fine, but those should only be eaten if the parent knows the person who gave it to their child."
On Halloween, the potential exists for some late-night hijinks, but Yoes said the Sheriffís Office always increases patrols during that time and that they are not anticipating any extra trouble.
However, Sheriff Greg Champagne said that Halloweenís heightened popularity can also mean the greater possibility for a variety of dangers and crimes.
"Simply because criminals can commit crimes in disguise without ever arousing suspicion," he said. "And, itís the one time of the year that homeowners willingly open their doors to strangers, expecting trick-or-treaters."
The American Academy of Pediatrics also warns parents that children should wear non-toxic makeup or decorative hats instead of masks, because masks can limit or block eyesight.
Children and their escorts should also carry flashlights and cell phones and remain on well-lit streets. Also, groups of trick-or-treaters should never assume the right of way because motorist may have trouble seeing them.
Residents that plan on remaining at home and handing out candy should remove anything that can trip a child, such as garden hoses, toys and lawn decorations from their porch or front yard. Outdoor lights should be checked to make sure they work properly and wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
Also, pets should be restrained so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater