Police warn of Halloween dangers

KENNEWICK — Ghosts and goblins of all shapes and sizes will be looking for some ghoulish fun this Halloween weekend.

Many will be heading to parties or trick-or-treating, and officials say it's easy to make sure everyone stays safe by following some simple tips.

Big kids -- those older than 21 -- are reminded to keep the party off the road if alcohol is involved.

Tri-City law enforcement officers will be out in force cracking down on drinking and driving with an aggressive "Drunk Driving, Over the Limit, Under Arrest" enforcement campaign, said Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin.

"There isn't a Halloween costume clever enough to hide an impaired driver who has made the poor decision to get behind the wheel," Lattin said. "Law enforcement officers are committed to helping keep the roads safe for everyone out to enjoy the holiday."

Halloween night often is one of the deadliest nights for impaired driving, he said.

In 2008, 58 percent of all highway fatalities on Halloween night -- from 6 p.m. Oct. 31 to 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1 -- involved a driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Partygoers always need to plan a safe way home before the fun begins, whether it's having a designated driver or making arrangements to call a cab, sober friend or use public transportation.

Drivers also are encouraged to slow down in neighborhoods and pay extra attention for trick-or-treaters.

Kids are reminded to cross streets at corners, use traffic signals and crosswalks, and always keep a lookout for cars. They also should go only to homes where a porch light is on, don't enter without an adult and tell police about suspicious activity.

Twice as many children are killed walking on Halloween than on other days, according to Safe Kids USA.

Nontoxic face paint and makeup is recommended instead of masks when possible.

Kids also should carry glow sticks or flashlights and use reflective tape.

Parents should check all the treats and discard any unwrapped or suspicious items.

w Paula Horton: 582-1556; phorton@tricityherald.com