Police: Make sure Halloween’s a treat (with tips, photo gallery)

Capital Region communities have issued curfews and recommendations to ensure that when ghosts and go

Capital Region communities have issued curfews and recommendations to ensure that when ghosts and goblins hit the streets to trick-or-treat this weekend, everyone will have a safe and enjoyable evening.

Since Halloween falls on a school night this year, local police departments expect a dip in mischief, but they will still have a strong police presence on the streets. While most communities are celebrating on Monday, some are hosting trick-or-treating on Sunday or even Saturday.

In Schenectady, trick-or-treating will be permitted between 2 and 8 p.m. Monday, Acting Mayor Gary McCarthy said. As in the past, he said in an announcement, “we are asking that trick-or-treaters conclude their door-to-door visits prior to 8 p.m. We are also asking that residents turn off their porch lights and stop handing out goodies at this time.”

The Schenectady Fire Department will hand out candy, activity books and fire safety information at all four of its locations: Station 1 at 360 Veeder Ave.; Station 2 at 1515 State St.; Station 3 on Third Avenue and Station 4 on Avenue A at Nott Street.

The official trick-or-treating hours for the village of Scotia and for the town of Glenville are from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday. Scotia Police Chief Pete Frisoni said residents are encouraged to extinguish their front porch lights at 8 p.m. to signal that trick-or-treating is over.

Frisoni encouraged parents to take younger children out while it’s still light, and to be sure they wear costumes that are easy to walk in and that don’t obstruct their vision. Walk carefully too, he advised.

“Make sure, especially in the village here, where there is plenty of on-street parking, to cross at corners, not in the middle of the street or between parked cars,” he advised. Drivers should be extra vigilant in looking for children in the streets, he added.

Frisoni noted that Halloween should not be used as an excuse for older children to become involved in disorderly or criminal activities.

Safety tips

• Try to have children trick-or-treat when it is still light outside.

• If your children will be out during dusk or after dark, have them carry a flashlight and use reflective tape on their costumes so they can see and be seen.

• Plan your child’s route ahead of time. Pick streets that are well lighted.

• Accompany your children or have an older sibling or other adult accompany them.

• Stay within the neighborhood and only visit homes your children know.

• Costumes should be easy for children to walk in.

• Have your child cross at corners and not in the middle of streets between parked cars.

• If there is no sidewalk, have your child walk facing oncoming traffic.

• Instruct your children not to eat any of the candy they collect until an adult can ensure it has not been tampered with.

Source: Scotia and Glenville police departments

“We want people to have fun, as long as it does not inconvenience or injure other people, and by injure, I also mean damaging property,” he said. “Shaving cream and eggs can damage car finishes,” he noted.

Someone hit in the face with an egg could receive an eye injury from the eggshells, he added.

“You’ve just got to use common sense,” he said. “We want to make sure that the night of fun doesn’t get out of hand and result in getting someone hurt or arrested even.”

If homeowners see any suspicious activity or vandalism going on, call police, Frisoni recommended. “Don’t confront the people. Get a description of who they are, and let us handle it,” he advised.

The town of Clifton Park recommends that trick-or-treating take place between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. Monday, as well. Certain neighborhoods may have centralized events for children, as well,, noted town Supervisor Phil Barrett.

Several years ago, Clifton Park stepped up police patrols on Halloween. “We have every security force member, full time or part time, out patrolling that night. That has gone a long way to cut down on some of the mischief that we’ve seen in past years,” Barrett said.

Clifton Park hosted a Halloween parade Friday at Clifton Common. The event included free refreshments and a bounce house, and a fire truck from the Jonesville Fire Department was on site, as well.

Dan McManus, a detective sergeant with the Niskayuna Police Department, said Niskayuna has no official Halloween curfew. “We always recommend with younger kids that they go out early, with supervision,” he said.

His department will be on the lookout for older kids causing mischief, he noted. “It is a fun night to get together with your friends, but respect people’s property and other people and just enjoy the evening,” he advised.

McManus suggested that homeowners secure items outside their residences, if possible. “Pumpkins are a big target for a lot of kids. You will see a lot of those smashed,” he said.

Good exterior lighting is also helpful, he said. “If you’re aware of any of your neighbors that aren’t home, just kind of keep an eye on their property as well,” he suggested.

The city of Amsterdam’s neighborhood watch association transforms into the Pumpkin Patrol on Halloween. “We have a lot of people that go out there and watch out for their elder neighbors and whatnot,” said Amsterdam Police Chief Greg Culick.

The official trick-or-treating hours in Amsterdam are from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday. Culick recommended that trick-or-treaters only visit neighborhoods they are familiar with and wear costumes that allow them to see and hear easily.

Though he expects this Halloween to be a less rowdy night than a Halloween that falls on a weekend, the Amsterdam Police Department still plans to step up patrols. “We always have a heavy presence out there,” Culick said.

Trick-or-treating hours for the town of Rotterdam are from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday. Town officials suggest that residents who will be out of town on Halloween put lights on timers and notify neighbors that they will be away. Upon request, the police department will also do a property check. Any suspicious vehicles, large groups or unusual activity should be reported to the Rotterdam Police Department.

Other Halloween hours reported for Monday include 6 to 8 p.m. in the village of Fort Johnson and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the village of Hagaman.

Among the communities with Sunday trick-or-treating is St. Johnsville, with hours from 5 to 7 p.m., while Gloversville’s hours are from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Categories: Schenectady County

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