FORT PIERCE - On Halloween night, Wednesday, Oct. 31, St. Lucie County Sheriff's school resource deputies will patrol in residential neighborhoods, supplementing the normal contingent of zone patrol deputies, Sheriff Ken J. Mascara said.
"The Pumpkin Patrol will provide a comforting presence for trick-or-treating children and their parents," said Sheriff Mascara. "They will help ensure a safe and happy Halloween night in St. Lucie County as they have done for many years."
Sheriff Mascara also offers these Halloween safety tips, endorsed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:
. Make sure a trusted adult, older child or parent accompanies younger children. Discuss with your child who will accompany him or her, and make sure you are both comfortable with the choice.
. Accompany, or make sure a trusted adult accompanies, your younger children to the door of every home they approach. Become familiar with each home your child visits and the people who are providing Halloween treats to your children.
. Teach your children to only enter homes with your prior permission and only approach homes that are well lit both inside and outside.
. Teach your children to never approach a vehicle unless they are accompanied by you, even if it appears no one is inside the vehicle.
. Make sure your children wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight or glow stick when traveling during the evening hours.
. Make sure your children are able to see and breathe properly and easily when using facial masks. All costumes and masks should be clearly marked as flame resistant.
. Teach your children to always stay in well-lit areas, never take shortcuts and never go into isolated areas.
. Teach your children to stay alert for any suspicious incidents and report anything unusual to you, or law enforcement, or both.
. Teach your children if anyone tries to grab them to draw attention to themselves and loudly yell, "This person is trying to take me," or, "This person is not my father/mother." Instruct your children to make every effort to escape by walking, running or pulling away, yelling, kicking, attracting attention or otherwise resisting.
. Consider organizing or attending parties at home, in schools or in community centers as good alternatives to trick-or-treating.
More information is available at www.missingkids.com and (800) THE-LOST.