Safety important for fun Halloween

LAWRENCEVILLE - There's nothing wrong with a spooky Halloween, as long as it's a safe one, officials say.

Gwinnett fire spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said a little planning will go a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable time for everyone.

"It is easy for children and adults to get caught up in the excitement of costumes, candy and trick-or-treating," Rutledge said. "All it takes is a little creativity to be festive and safe at the same time."

The season unfortunately brings an increased risk of fire, Rutledge said, as candles and costumes don't mix well. In the event a costume does catch fire, Rutledge said remember: stop, drop and roll.

"Rolling several times will smother the fire and prevent serious injury or even death," Rutledge said. "The best practice is to avoid open flames such as decorative candles or jack-o'-lanterns."

Rutledge and the Gwinnett County Police Department offer the following tips:

· Wear bright-colored costumes that fit properly. Reflective tape is recommended and costumes should be made of flame-resistant materials.

· If props are used, make sure they are soft and flexible with no sharp points or jagged edges.

· Children should trick-or-treat in their own subdivisions, on well-lighted streets. They should be in small groups and with a responsible adult and should never enter a house to accept candy.

· Check all candy wrappers for signs of tampering before eating and report any harmful items to police.

· Motorists should drive slowly and remain cautious for trick-or-treaters crossing the roadways or standing in medians.

· If consuming alcohol during festivities, be responsible and have a designated driver. Never provide alcohol to a minor.

· Avoid using decorative candles, if possible, especially around small children and pets.

· Eliminate tripping hazards on your walkway and porch, and make sure the area is well lit for trick-or-treaters.

· Teach children to yell loudly and cause a scene if anyone tries to grab them and to make every effort - kicking, screaming and resisting - to get away.

"Halloween is a festive time that involves costumes, candy and spooky settings," Rutledge said. "Remember not to get so caught up in the activities that you forget to be safe and act responsibly, no matter what your age."