Area streets and roads will be cluttered Friday with thousands of children as they travel door to door in search of candy and other Halloween goodies.

Most communities across the region will observe Halloween Friday evening between the hours of 5 and 7 p.m. and 6 and 8 p.m. Thousands of excited youngsters dressed in their favorite costumes will be out and about on busy roadways. As a result, law enforcement officials are reminding motorists to slow down Friday, and to be on the lookout for children who are out trick-or-treating along area streets and highways.

Area law enforcement officials, including the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department and the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, are offering a number of safety tips for local families. These common-sense suggestions include:

• All children who are out trick-or-treating should be accompanied by adults, and should never go into a stranger’s home alone.

• Parents should have their children wear light colored, flame-resistant costumes.

• Parents are reminded that face paint can be safer than masks, which can obstruct the view of youngsters.

• Trick-or-treaters should always have flashlights and should be wearing some form of reflective tape.

• Homeowners should make sure all of their pets are in a secure location to keep them from inadvertently biting a child who is out trick-or-treating.

• Homeowners should also use Jack o’ lanterns lit with battery-powered sources instead of candles. If candles are used, property owners are asked to keep the pumpkin away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing. If their home is located near a wooded area, the homeowner should make sure the pumpkin is not near dry leaves or grass that could catch fire.

• All candy collected by trick-or-treaters should not be eaten until it is brought home and checked by an adult. Anything that is not professionally wrapped should be thrown away.

We ask all motorists to slow down, and to be on the lookout for youngsters who will be out and about trick-or-treating, while also reminding parents to keep a close eye on their children as they travel from door-to-door in search of Halloween goodies.

And we encourage all would-be destructive pranksters to stay home.

Halloween is a night for children. It is not a night for ugly, destructive and dangerous pranks. Those who are up to no good are reminded that law enforcement officials will be out in full force Friday looking for would-be vandals.

It is our hope that youngsters across the region will have a safe and happy Halloween.

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