In less than a week, kids in costumes will set off for an annual candy tour of their neighborhoods.
But before sending your trick-or-treaters out the door, Hays police urge parents and guardians to educate their children and take precautions to ensure a safe and fun experience.
For starters, a parent or trustworthy adult should be present to escort young children, and if children are old enough to safely go out alone, they should do so in groups, said Lt. Brandon Wright of the Hays Police Department.
Traffic safety is another concern. Parents should take steps to make sure their children can see oncoming traffic and are visible to drivers, he said.
“You need to make sure they’re watching traffic and can see out of their costumes,” he said. “Kids should have a flashlight or glow stick or some kind of device like that to make them better able to be seen by traffic.”
Drivers should remain mindful of increased foot traffic and carefully check their surroundings to ensure there are no children nearby, Wright said.
It’s also important to teach children never to enter a stranger’s home, and to only stop at houses that are well-lit, Wright said. All candy received should be inspected by an adult before eaten. Anything unwrapped or suspicious-looking should be thrown away as a precaution.
If parents are not going trick-or-treating with their children, an established route and return time should be established in advance, he said.
For younger children or for families who are not comfortable with the “traditional” trick-or-treating experience, several community organizations will be offering safe alternatives beginning this weekend.
A third annual “Costumes and Candy” event for children will be at Lewis Field Stadium during Saturday’s Fort Hays State University football game. Registration opens at 1:30 p.m., and admission is free for children in costumes, though they must be accompanied by an adult. Ages preschool to 13 are welcome, said Michael Lucero, who helped establish the event — a partnership between FHSU and the Kansas National Education Association — three years ago.
Participants will watch the game from inside a tent near the scoreboard. Children will parade around the track for trick-or-treating between the third and fourth quarters, and the first 100 will receive a free book. Candy is donated by KNEA and FHSU staff members.
Organizers are prepared for a large turnout at Saturday’s event, as game attendance has been swelling with the Tigers now 8-0 for the first time in school history.
Victor E. Tiger and cheerleading and dance team members also will walk with the children around the track. The event was founded by FHSU’s KNEA student group.
“Now you can tell since we’re on a winning streak, people are participating at games. But several years ago, it wasn’t like that,” Lucero said. “So it was a way of combining the university with our community, getting kids interested in higher education and the college students helping the younger kids.”
Other events include:
• Trick-or-Treat on The Bricks, 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 31 in downtown Hays. More than 60 businesses will participate in the annual trick or treat event sponsored by The Hays Daily News.
• North Oak Community Church “Trunk or Treat,” 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31, 3000 Oak. Event includes plenty of candy, free barbecue meal, carnival games and inflatables for children. Canned food donations are encouraged to benefit First Call For Help.
• Halloween at Big Creek Crossing, 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31, 2918 Vine. Candy provided for children in costumes.
• Safe Trick-or-Treat, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Victor E. Village on Fort Hays State University campus. Provides a safe environment for elementary school students to collect candy, play games and watch a movie.