The Marshall community is gearing up for a spooky Sunday celebration, with Police Chief Cliff Carruth recommending that families go trick or treating on Oct. 31 from 5 to 8 p.m. this year.

The city recommends that households that wish to distribute candy should turn the front porch lights on to indicate they welcome trick-or-treating, and that trick-or-treaters should only approach houses that have porch lights on and should never enter a home or car for a treat.

Younger children should always be accompanied by an adult.

“We urge all our citizens to be extra careful as we will have younger kids that will be out during Halloween night trick-or-treating,” said Carruth.

The Marshall Police Department and the Red Cross both offer a variety of safety tips to help keep the Marshall community safe and healthy this Halloween.

Costume safety

  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls. Consider adding reflective tape or lights to kids’ costumes and bags to help drivers see them.
  • If a child is wearing a mask instead of make-up, make sure the eye holes are large enough to see through clearly.
  • Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as a safer alternative to masks. Always test make-up in a small area of skin first and always remove make-up before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
  • When shopping for costume pieces, look for and purchase ones that are labeled as flame retardant.
  • Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible. A child may be easily hurt by accessories if he or she stumbles or trips.

Trick-or-treating safety

  • If your older children are going out without parental supervision, go over the ground rules first and set a curfew. Have them travel in a group, with a cell phone, and a flashlight.
  • Make sure children know how to call 911 if they have an emergency.
  • Pedestrian injuries are very common on Halloween. Remind kids to stay in a group. They should walk on sidewalks, whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic. Crosswalks should be used whenever possible, and children should always look both ways before crossing the street.

Examine all of your kids’ t

  • reats for choking hazards and tampering. Do not eat treats that have been opened, even partially. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Make your cloth mask part of your costume. A costume mask is not a safe substitute for a cloth mask. Avoid wearing a costume mask over a cloth mask as it can make breathing difficult.
  • Plan outdoor activities and avoid indoor events where the risk of virus transmission is higher.
  • Bring hand sanitizer with you while trick-or-treating and use it after touching objects or other people. Wash your hands when you get home.
  • Avoid trick-or-treating in large groups, and social distance from others around the neighborhood.
  • Make sure trick-or-treaters can see and be seen. Give kids a flashlight to light their way and consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
  • It’s not only vampires and monsters people have to look out for. Be cautious around animals, especially dogs.

Keeping Your Home Safe for Trick-or-Treaters:

  • Make sure your home is well-lit inside and out and that there is a clear path to your front door.
  • Sweep leaves from your sidewalks and steps. Clear your porch or front yard of obstacles someone could trip over.
  • Keep all decorations like cornstalks and hay away from heat sources and lit candles.
  • Use battery-operated tea lights instead of candles in jack-o-lanterns.
  • Remember to put matches and lighters away in a high, locked cabinet so children cannot access them or be tempted to relight jack-o-lanterns by themselves.
  • Give out treats outdoors, if possible.
  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters by setting up an area with individually bagged treats for kids to take. Wash your hands before handling treats.
  • Maintain social distancing and wear a cloth mask.
  • Light the area well so young visitors can see.

“Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the U.S. and with most communities returning to normal activities this school year, people should expect a higher volume of visitors in search of tricks and treats,” said Karen McCoy, Executive Director of the North Louisiana Chapter of the Red Cross. “Whether you’re handing out goodies or going door-to-door, with just a few simple considerations you can make sure your family and those around you are safe and sound.”

As always, any suspicious person or vehicle should immediately be reported to Marshall Police at (903) 935-4575, or in case of emergency, dial 911.

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City Reporter

Jessica Harker has been the city reporter with the Marshall News Messenger since 2019.