As costume clad trick-or-treaters hit the streets next week seeking candy, local law enforcement officials are urging children and adults to be aware of their surroundings.

Franklin County Sheriff Steve Pelton said children shouldn’t wear dark clothing, or masks that make it difficult for them to see.

“We encourage everyone to be safe,” he said. “Parents and guardians should keep track of the kids — often the kids are focused on candy, not cars.”

Pelton added that on Halloween night, Thursday, Oct. 31, drivers should keep a close eye on the road, avoid distracted driving and be ready to stop.

“We ask that motorists be cognizant of their surrounding,” he said. “There are a lot of children out that night.”

In addition, Pelton said children should stay away from the homes of registered sex offenders.

“If they have a sign on their door, don’t approach,” he said. “Or if they have their lights off, don’t go to the door.”

Sex offenders are required to post signs at their homes Oct. 31 that read, “No candy or treats at this residence.”

Registered sex offenders can’t have any Halloween-related contact with children, and they are required to turn off all outside residential lighting Oct. 31 after 5 p.m.

Offenders also must stay inside their residence between 5-10:30 p.m. unless required to be elsewhere for just cause, including, but not limited to, employment or medical emergencies, Pelton noted.

State Patrol

The Missouri State Highway Patrol also has issued safety tips for trick-or-treaters.

Col. Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the patrol, said children should “give some thought to safety when choosing a costume.”

Olson suggests children consider make-up rather than masks, since masks can make it difficult to see oncoming traffic. He added people out that night should wear light-colored clothing or add reflective tape to dark costumes to make them visible. Flame resistant costumes also are suggested.

“Parents, please remind children to approach only familiar houses that are well lighted,” Olson said in a release issued Monday. “Talk with them about never entering a stranger’s house or vehicle. Consider trick-or-treating with your children for their safety and because it’s a fun way to spend an evening.”

Children also should use sidewalks wherever possible when walking around a neighborhood; trick-or-treat while it is light out; and carry a flashlight, especially after dark. An adult should always accompany small children, and older children should stay in groups, Olson said.

“Everyone should stay alert when driving on Halloween. Young children excited by Halloween could dart in front of a vehicle,” he added. “Slow down, and drive with extra caution. If you are headed to a costume party, make sure the costume doesn’t hamper your vision while you’re driving to the event.”

In addition to warnings for children, Olson also reminds adults to have a sober, designated driver if they attend a party with alcohol.

“Alcohol, even in small amounts, slows reaction time and dulls the senses. Drinking alcohol could have a sad and possibly deadly result,” Olson stated.