MARQUETTE - As hordes of ghouls, goblins and political look-alikes take to the streets for trick-or-treating this week, safety should come first.
That's the message from local law enforcement officials. Officers with the Marquette City Police Department are spending the days leading up to Halloween giving safety presentations in area elementary schools. The presentations aim to impart important tips to the kids who will be traveling door-to-door in the coming evening.
"What I would recommend is some of the common sense-type things, when youre dealing with trick-or-treating," said Capt. Blake Rieboldt, with the Marquette City Police Department.
Police recommend that trick-or-treaters, such as the youngsters above in this stock image, and their adult escorts plan ahead and always keep safety in mind.
Rieboldt said it is very important for people to adhere to the basic rules of the road. Be sure to stay on the sidewalk whenever possible, cross the street only at intersections, wear reflective clothing or carry reflective items or a flashlight, he said.
He suggested that all juveniles - those 17 years old and under - travel with an adult and said that trick-or-treating should be done in groups and before full dark, if possible.
"You don't want to be a single 13-year-old going around by yourself," Rieboldt said.
While it is common practice to only trick-or-treat at homes or buildings with exterior lights on, Rieboldt said there are no areas of the city that the police would suggest people avoid.
Some parts of the city - such as the east side or the downtown area - get a high volume of trick-or-treaters, and Rieboldt said foot traffic is the best option in those locations.
"We recommend you go to those areas and park ... and work that area on foot," he said. He added that it is best to avoid following behind your trick-or-treating children in a vehicle.
For those trick-or-treating beyond the boundaries of the city, the recommendations are much the same.
"When trick-or-treating in a more rural area or outside of an incorporated city or village, the big thing is safety," Michigan State Police Sgt. Kevin Dowling said.
Dowling also highlighted the importance of adult supervision and remaining visible while walking along roadways. Even though houses are further apart in more rural areas, he said walking is still the preferred method of travel.
"Also be aware that it can be dangerous walking along traveled roadways," he said. "You have to take extra caution."
Additionally, it is best to take caution when revieweing the haul that you or your child collects on Halloween night.
Rieboldt said trick-or-treaters and parents should comb through their candy, following a night of going door-to-door. If an item's packaging is ripped or otherwise compromised, it may be best to simply throw it away, he said.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.