PUNTA GORDA, Fla. -- Police are urging drivers in Punta Gorda to watch closely for children on Halloween night, and announce that they will be strictly enforcing a reduced speed limit downtown.
Punta Gorda Police say there will be a heavy police presence in the Historic District beginning at 6 p.m. Monday night, where a 15 miles per hour speed limit will be in effect during Halloween festivities.
The affected area from Shreve Street to Cross Street (U.S. 41 southbound), and Olympia Avenue to Retta Esplanade.
Motorists should be particularly alert for children veering from sidewalks into traffic, particularly since many children are wearing dark-colored clothing. The Police Department is also asking that thru-traffic consider alternative routes due to the high volume of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Safe Halloween Tips for Parents
Make sure your kids dress up safely
- Make sure an adult accompanies children at all times.
- Check that the costumes are flame-retardant so the little ones aren't in danger near burning jack-o-lanterns and other fire hazards.
- Keep costumes short to prevent trips, falls, and other bumps in the night.
- Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks can be hot and uncomfortable and, more importantly, they can obstruct a child's vision -- a dangerous thing when kids are crossing streets and going up and down steps.
- Make sure kids wear light colors, carry a light, wear a blinking light, or put reflective tape on their costumes.
Make trick-or-treating trouble free
- Trick-or-treaters should always be in groups. Parents should accompany young children.
- Make sure older kids trick-or-treat with friends. Together, map out a safe route so parents know where they'll be. Tell them to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on.
- Try to get your kids to trick-or-treat while it's still light out. If it's dark, make sure someone has a flashlight and pick well-lit streets.
- Make sure kids know not to enter strange houses or strangers' cars.
- Kids need to know not to eat their treats until they get home. One way to keep trick-or-treaters from digging in while they're still out is to feed them a meal or a snack beforehand.
- Check out all treats at home in a well-lighted place.
- A better way to check treats is at one of the local hospitals – they will x-ray the goodies for free.
- What to eat? Only unopened candies and other treats that are in original wrappers. Don't forget to inspect fruit and homemade goodies for anything suspicious. By all means, remind kids not to eat everything at once or they'll be feeling pretty ghoulish for awhile!
Tips for Trick-or-Treaters
Parents, please consider discussing the following points with your Trick-or-Treaters.
- Trick-or-Treat with family or friends, don’t go alone.
- Use make-up instead of a mask so you can see.
- Wear light-colored clothing or costumes.
- Make a map of your trick-or-treat route for you and your parents.
- Carry a flashlight or light stick, wear a flashing light, or both.
- Always keep a safe distance between you and moving cars.
- Only cross streets at intersections, and listen to traffic control officers
- Be respectful of other people and their property.
- Stop only at well-lit houses.
- Have a parent check all treats before you eat them.
- Use sidewalks
- Stop, look, and listen at corners.
- Walk - don't run.
- Don't go between parked cars and crisscross back and forth across streets or into traffic.
- Don't go inside a stranger's house, no matter what anyone says.
- Don’t get inside a stranger’s car or go near a stranger’s car even if they offer you candy or money
- Don't carry sharp instruments. And never carry a lighted torch or candle.
Tips for Trick or Treat Providers
Tips for those who will, or will not, be giving out treats.
- Turn on outside lights if you are handing out treats.
- Turn off outside lights if you are not handing out treats. If kids see lights they will come to your door.
- Do not allow kids inside your house. This is for the safety of the kids and yourselves.
- Do not give out edible treats that are unpackaged.
- Report any suspicious activity to the police immediately at (941) 639-4111.