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Halloween Safety tips from DuPage County Sheriff's Office

October 26, 2009 6:39:45 PM PDT
The DuPage County Sheriff's Office has set up a Halloween safety initiative. (Release) Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids of all ages. Children can hardly wait to put on their costumes and fill up their bags with treats. Unfortunately that excitement can sometimes make both children and adults forget to be careful while they're out having fun. With that in mind, Sheriff John Zaruba has a Halloween Safety initiative to help make Halloween fun and safe for all residents in DuPage County.

Sheriff Zaruba announced today the first part of his Halloween initiative will begin with opening his Crime Laboratory for 48 hours straight, making it available to DuPage County residents or Police Agencies requesting the testing of the suspicious or questionable treat. This 48-hour watch will begin on Saturday October 31st at 12:00pm and will conclude on November 2nd at 4:00pm.

Any parents who discover questionable Halloween treats are encouraged to contact their local Police Department. If you reside in unincorporated DuPage County, contact the Sheriff's Office at their non-emergency number 630-407-2400 and a deputy will respond to your residence to collect the questionable treat. If you reside in an incorporated area, contact your local police department so that they may collect the item for testing.

"If you believe that your child's Halloween treat is suspicious, minimize handling of the item, place the item in a bag," said Sheriff Zaruba. "Contact your local police or the Sheriff's Office and attempt to recall the location of where the questionable item was handed out," he continued.

The questionable treat will then be immediately tested and photographed by the Crime Lab. The resident or Law Enforcement Agency will be contacted with the results of the testing. If the treat has a high likelihood of being contaminated, further testing will be completed to confirm the results and the resident or Law Enforcement Agency will be notified of the results.

"SPEAR Enforcement" The second part of the initiative is Sheriff Zaruba's S.P.E.A.R. (Sexual Predator Enforcement, Apprehension and Registration) Team. This multi-jurisdictional countywide team will be out in force during Halloween checking to make sure that known sexual offenders are strictly complying with the requirements of the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act. If they are not in compliance, they will be arrested.

"Moms and dads need to know that sex offenders may take advantage of vulnerable children this time of year; I encourage every parent to take a few minutes before their children go out trick or treating to check one of the online sex offender registries so they know if there are any offenders living in their area," Sheriff Zaruba stated. He continued "All parents should visit our website at and click on the link to see registered sex offenders."

"Family Awareness" "Trick or treating should be a great adventure for our kids," Sheriff John E. Zaruba said. "To make this Halloween safe and fun for all, be sure to know whose door your kids are knocking on and follow these safety tips."

  • Trick-or-treat before it gets dark in the late afternoon or early evening. Check with your municipality or neighborhood homeowners' association to see if there are designated hours for trick-or-treating. There are no official hours for unincorporated DuPage County, but Sheriff Zaruba recommends that children be home by 7:00 p.m. If parents and children must go out after dark, stay in well-lighted areas and bring a flashlight.
  • Older children should trick-or-treat with an adult or in a large group. Parents should map out a safe route and tell their children to stop only at familiar houses where the lights are on.
  • Young children should always trick-or-treat with a parent or trusted adult.
  • Wear costumes that can be seen in the dark. Many stores sell glow-in-the-dark or reflective items that can be worn or carried while trick-or-treating. Costumes should also be flame-retardant and short enough to prevent tripping and falling. Avoid hard plastic or wood props, use foam rubber instead.
  • Stay within your neighborhood and only visit homes you know.
  • An adult should examine all treats before they are eaten. Eat only those treats that are un-opened and in their original wrappers. Sheriff Zaruba recommends that parents discard any homemade treats or fruits or, at a minimum, pay special attention to them. If you suspect that a treat has been tampered with, save it, and contact your local law enforcement agency for testing.
  • Tell children that they should not enter anyone's home or car while trick-or-treating. If someone tries to get them to come into their home or car, they should run away and immediately tell a trusted adult.

Sex Offenders Registries: www.dupagesheriff.org or www.mapsexoffenders.com


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