Have fun but be safe, says chief

Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning is preparing for the tricks and treats of Halloween, which falls on Tuesday this year.

On the tricks side, Hillsboro has been quiet the last couple of years, with only minor incidents of vandalism and pranking reported.

“We’re going to have a certain amount of mischief going on, and we’re going to try to be ready for that,” Kinning said. “But we want to keep that to a minimum.”

He said the full staff of officers, plus reserves, are called to duty every Halloween night.

“We have officers out on foot, on bicycle and in cars,” he said. “We just try to keep an eye on things.

“Last year was real quiet,” he added. “(Some youth) brought in an old outhouse on Main Street, but they didn’t hurt anybody. It was an old junky thing nobody cared about. I’d almost rather have them do that than put it out on some dark street where somebody could run into it.”

Officers also provide security for children who are gathering their treats. The prime opportunity to gather candy will be Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. when more than 30 merchants and industries will participate in “Trick-or-Treat Main Street,” sponsored by the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce.

The local police department are active supporters of the event.

“We provide security, we block off the streets and there are several officers on duty downtown,” Kinning said.

He said he was glad to hear the event would be held again this year after some discussion within the Chamber that it might be discontinued.

“It’s kind of a good thing for the kids,” Kinning said. “They get to see each other, it’s daylight, and we have security. Not only is it safer for the little kids, but we tend to have less vandalism from the medium-sized kids when we do it.”

Kinning had several tips for parents who have children who want to go trick-or-treating through local neighborhoods.

— Be careful with the costumes. Loose costumes, oversized bags or unsafe shoes can cause falls.

— It’s better for children to wear makeup instead of a mask because masks can limit a child’s ability to see. If children do wear a mask, they should wear one that’s comfortable and easy to see out of.

— Costumes that include sharp or pointed toys are unsafe.

— Children should wear light-colored costumes.

“I would recommend using reflective tape on the costumes if that’s available to you,” Kinning said. “They also have luminescent sticks now, where you break them and they glow. Kids can carry those.”

— Go trick-or-treating during daylight or later at night.

“Dusk is usually the poorest time for visibility for drivers,” Kinning said. “I would go in daylight if you can, especially if you have younger kids. Keep an eye on kids, too, so they don’t run in the street.”

— Check treats for unsafe objects. If packages have been reopened or have any kind of puncture marks, discard them.

“I would recommend that with unpackaged items, such as popcorn or small candies that have been placed in Baggies, I would actually discard those, too,” Kinning said. “A lot of people like giving those, but you never know.”

— Only visit houses with porch lights on.

“If they’re not on, usually that’s a sign that people aren’t handing out treats or are not home,” he said.

Kinning said Hillsboro has had no major incidents related to trick-or-treating for many years.

“We want to keep it that way,” he said.

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