As children throughout Pine Bluff and Jefferson County prepare to celebrate Halloween with trick-or-treating, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services have offered some tips to keep children safe.

As children throughout Pine Bluff and Jefferson County prepare to celebrate Halloween with trick-or-treating, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services have offered some tips to keep children safe.


JCSO Maj. Lafayette Woods Jr. said in a press release that if children are to go door-to-door trick-or-treating, they should stay in their own neighborhoods and only go to homes of people known to them. They should not go to houses that are unlighted and should never enter a stranger’s home.


Woods also suggested traveling in groups or be accompanied by a parent, relative or trusted friend and said younger children should always be accompanied by an adult.


Only accept treats that are wrapped or packaged. Parents should examine all treats before allowing children to consume them.


Both Woods and Fire and Emergency Services Capt. Harold Clark said costumes, wigs and props should be flame retardant and should be light in color or at least have reflective tape on them. Children should also carry a flashlight or light stick so they are visible to motorists.


Clark said in a press release that jack-o-lanterns and other decorations containing lighted candles should be kept away from flammable materials such as cornstalks or hay bales because they are highly flammable. Use them only outside the home if possible, and battery powered lights and flashlights are good alternatives to candles.


He also said to avoid placing lighted candle-lit luminaries along pathways where trick-or-treaters costumes may brush with them and catch fire. In the event a costume catches fire, teach children to "stop, drop and roll" (Stop immediately, drop to the ground covering your face with your hands, and roll over and over to extinguish flames).


In the press release, Woods also encouraged parents to check the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Sex Offender section of their website at www.jeffcoso.org and familiarize themselves with registered sex offenders in their neighborhood.


Woods said registered sex offenders are not required to stay at home on Halloween night unless it is a condition of their parole or probation.


"If you suspect that any of your child’s treats have been tampered with, call 9-1-1 and report it," Woods said in the press release. "Save the un-eaten portion of the treat along with whatever object(s) you find so that it can be examined by the responding officer. Tampering with any consumer product is a violation of both federal and state laws.


"Also, please instruct your children that damaging another person’s property or causing them injury, however slight, is a crime, not a prank," Woods said.