Tips for Parents, Homeowner’s Associations and Property Managers to Help Keep Kids Safe on Halloween - South Dade News Leader: Community News | South Dade News Leader | Miami Dade County

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Tips for Parents, Homeowner’s Associations and Property Managers to Help Keep Kids Safe on Halloween

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Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2018 1:15 am

Halloween is one of the more interesting celebrations in the United States and throughout much of the world.  For a few hours one night of the year, generally beginning at dusk, children of all ages transform into their favorite ghoul, villain, superhero, princess or idol.  They have license to collect as much candy as the human body could possibly consume in a dizzyingly short period. For a brief while, the fear of stranger danger, abduction, violence and general modern misanthropy is cast aside for our kids to experience a collective party with everyone around them. 

Like any celebration, Halloween comes with the safety concerns present any time large numbers of people are shrouded in darkness and wearing makeup or masks. 

As we should know, some take advantage of the opportunity to use Halloween as an excellent opportunity to vandalize property, commit robberies or other crimes, and generally victimize the rest of us – all while moving about cloaked in a disguise that, on the other 364 days of the year, would result in multiple calls to police for suspicious behavior.

Homeowner’s associations, apartment complexes, and other interested groups have an opportunity and a responsibility to ensure that this predominantly child focused celebration does not devolve into a preventable tragedy.  Managers should distribute and post notices of any organized events related to Halloween celebrations in advance, and be particularly attentive to any problem areas of the community, including areas where lighting is poor, fencing is degraded, and any residences that may be vacant.  Because large numbers of people will be out after dark, it is useful for owners, managers, and maintenance staff to take stock of the physical characteristics of the community at night. 

Parents and community members should be encouraged to bring flashlights with them and wear reflective clothing.  Advise residents to only approach well-lit houses and to travel in groups.  Establishing a curfew well in advance of Halloween will enable security personnel and police to respond more effectively to suspicious behavior that may be occurring after the designated trick or treating period has passed.

Homeowners and tenants should be asked to leave on their exterior lights to improve common area visibility for everyone.  Encourage residents to participate in Halloween by serving as informal community monitors, and ensure that they have flashlights and their cell phones with them as they observe the festivities. 

In advance of Halloween, distribute common sense reminders of the expectations and rules for trick or treating, and the phone number of a

contact person for any questions that residents may have.  Everyone bears responsibility for a safe Halloween, but an active and involved association and management team can help reduce a preventable tragedy by maintaining these open lines of communication on one of the most unusual nights of the year.

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