HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Trick or treat! In just a couple of days the streets will be full of witches, ghosts, and ghouls. But, it's easy to get caught up in Halloween and let safety slip through the cracks. Huntsville Police said the best thing you can do to ensure that doesn't happen is to plan ahead and prepare.
"We always encourage you know, know where you're going, Make sure you're going to an area you're familiar with, Don't send your kids out somewhere where they've never been before," said Lt. Stacy Bates.
The Next Door app has rolled out a treat map for this Halloween.
"If you're a next door member it would allow you to kind of map out your route that you want to take through neighborhoods that are next door friendly and have designated themselves as places for children to go trick or treating," said Lt. Bates.
Speaking of neighbors, it's a good idea to be aware of those who might be cause for concern around you.
"A big thing for parents to remember is you know there are sex offenders out there so there's a lot of websites out there, Family Watchdog is a great website that we recommend to a lot of people," said Lt. Bates.
Those websites will allow you to put in search criteria such as street and neighborhoods.
"It will show you not just who sex offenders are but it will pinpoint the houses and areas that they live in so you'll know those are streets you need to avoid," said Bates.
HPD also said that most of their safety reminders are things parents already know; don't let your kids trick or treat alone, remind them to use sidewalks and crosswalks when they're out, don't eat candy that looks like it's been opened. But, there are a couple of things you might not have thought about yet.
"Just think safety, always be visible, make sure that where they're going is a well-lit area, and first and foremost, try to make it a neighborhood that you're familiar with," said Bates.
Our four-legged friends are something else to keep in mind. A lot of people trick or treat with their pets now, or have them in their yards.
"So just remind kids since they are going to be in costume be careful approaching pets or animals that they're not even familiar with, it may startle them, it may cause them to become aggressive," said Lt. Bates.
It's starting to get dark earlier now, so one more safety step you can take to protect your kids this year is flagging them in some way.
"Try to dress them in something that has some reflective material on it, put some type of reflective strip, sticker, something anything that can help them be seen by a vehicle, makes it that much safer for everyone," said Lt. Bates.
HPD will be heavily patrolling the neighborhood and streets throughout Huntsville on Monday. Lt. Bates and the Huntsville Police Department hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween.