A sweet and safe Halloween

Friends, families encouraged to exercise caution while trick-or-treating

MECOSTA, OSCEOLA, LAKE COUNTIES — As goblins, ghouls, witches and more fill the streets of Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties next week for trick-or-treating festivities, area law enforcement agencies are encouraging families and friends to keep safety in mind.

Trick-or-treating will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Big Rapids, 5 to 7 p.m. in Reed City, 5 to 8 p.m. in Evart, and 5 to 7 p.m. in Baldwin, on Thursday, Oct. 31.

"Halloween attracts people of all ages, but their safety is our number one concern," Tyler Haynes, Big Rapids Department of Public Safety public information officer, said. "We want everyone to have fun, but we also want everyone to go home at the end of the night."

Haynes said one of the most important tips for trick-or-treaters to follow is to carry a glow stick, flashlight or other light.

"Having a light makes it easier for drivers to identify people out and about," he said.

He added the BRDPS also is encouraging parents to walk with their children while they gather sweet treats instead of driving behind them on the street.

"If parents park their car and walk the block with their kids, we don't have to worry about blocking driveways or accidents," Haynes said.

The Michigan State Police suggest the following additional tips for having a safe and fun Halloween:

• Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as close to the curb as possible.

• Look left, right and left again when crossing the street.

• Put electronic devices down. Keep your head up and walk, don't run, across the street.

• Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape.

• Stay in familiar neighborhoods. Plan your route and share it with your family.

• Stay in a group.

• Only visit homes that have the porch light on.

• Stay in populated and well-lit areas. Do not cut through back alleys or fields.

• Be sure to follow any curfew rules.