NAPLES — There will be more than just ‘lil ghosts and goblins taking to Southwest Florida streets this evening.
Local law enforcement will be out in full force with enhanced patrols, making sure all the trick-or-treaters make it home safely with their sacks of candy.
They’ll be patrolling in cars, riding bicycles, rolling on Segways and walking the streets on the lookout for possible problems, including gangs and sex offenders.
“We want to do everything we can to ensure their experience is as safe as possible,” said Sgt. Dan McDonald of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office’s Crime Prevention Unit.
Collier deputies will even be participating in the fun.
■ In North Naples, deputies are joining North Naples firefighters for a costume party and open house from noon to 3 p.m. at Fire Station 45, 1885 Veterans Park Drive.
■ East Naples deputies are hosting their annual Haunted Trail from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the old substation at 11121 U.S. 41 E.
■ Deputies will be handing out candy at McLeod Park, 101 W. Broadway in Everglades City, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and in the Orange Tree community in Golden Gate Estates from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Immokalee deputies will be handing out candy at their substation.
“It’s an opportunity to interact with parents, to interact with kids, and to bridge the gap that sometimes exists between law enforcement and the community,” McDonald said.
With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, law enforcement will be on the lookout for underage drinking, and stores and bars that sell alcohol to minors. It is against the law to provide alcohol to anyone under 21.
Law enforcement also will be cracking down on intoxicated drivers.
“If you want to go out and drink, have a designated driver or take a cab,” Naples police spokesman Michael Herman said.
While trick-or-treating, authorities said it’s important for parents to keep an eye on their kids, to map out their route ahead of time, and to take their time.
Trick-or-treaters should stay in groups, and only approach houses that appear to be participating in the holiday, Herman said.
“We want kids and adults, whoever, to go out, have a great time on Halloween, enjoy all of the partying and festivities that are appropriate for their age group,” Herman said, “and go home nice and safely.”
Tips for a safe Halloween
Make sure children are dressed safely
* Allow them to wear only flame-retardant costumes.
* Keep costumes short to prevent falls.
* Use make-up instead of masks when possible. Masks can obstruct vision.
* Make sure kids wear light colors or put reflective tape on their costumes.
Make trick-or-treating trouble free
* Children should travel in groups when trick-or-treating. Adults should accompany young children.
* Map out a safe route for children and make sure they stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on.
* Try to have them trick-or-treat while it’s still light outside. If it’s dark, make sure someone has a flashlight.
* Make sure kids know not to enter strange houses or cars.
* Teach children to say “No” or “This is not my mother/father” in a loud voice if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat, or leave with them.
* Make sure other children know your home phone number, in case they get lost or separated.
Source: Collier County Sheriff’s Office