Crime Prevention Month and Halloween - Celebration, Florida

October is Crime Prevention Month, which only by coincidence, is also when Halloween is celebrated.  Many of the crime prevention tips I provide throughout the year can also be utilized to help protect you and your children during the Halloween events.

Children and adults look forward to the trick or treating, costumes and the parties associated with Halloween. This yearly event can be fraught with fright for parents, with candy given to their kids by strangers and loads of masked and costumed trick-or-treaters descending on Celebration walking the streets and knocking at your doors.  I ask this question.  What other time of the year do you allow your kids to go to unknown homes and take candy from strangers?   By following a few safety tips, you can help ensure safe fun for kids and candy-givers alike.


Around Your Home

  • Clear your yard and sidewalk of any obstacles or decorations that may be hard to see in the dark.
  • Keep your house well lighted, both inside and out. These lights also indicate that you’re open to trick-or-treaters.
  • Once you decide to stop giving candy, leave some exterior lights on to illuminate potential hiding spots around your home, but place a barrier such as a potted plant, a dog fence or chairs across the entrance to your porch indicating you are “closed.” Avoid darkening the house.
  • Keep your cars locked or parked in the garage. Also, keep all valuables and other enticements out of sight and make sure all doors and windows to your homes and garages are locked.
  • Use caution with candles or other flames. Consider LED or other low voltage lighting effects.
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office immediately. Save the Back Porch posting until after the police are called.


On the Roads

  • Always be alert for pedestrians, especially for children running into the streets. Remember that the posted limits are for optimal driving conditions, not during for the dark or when you know trick-or-treaters are out.
  • Drive Slowly! Keep the radio volume down and the windows open to hear activities outside the car.
  • Obey all traffic laws, but pay particular attention to your speed and stop completely at stop signs. Watch for pedestrians, not only in crosswalks, but kids may run into the street without warning.



  • Use face makeup, it’s more comfortable and doesn’t obstruct vision the way masks can.
  • Check to ensure that costumes are flame-retardant so that young ones are safe around jack-o’-lanterns, candles and other flames.
  • Keep costumes short to avoid tripping over them.
  • Look for brightly colored costumes, attach reflector strips to costumes and bags and remind trick-or-treaters to carry glow sticks and flashlights.
  • If a costume involves any sort of fake weapon, make sure that it is made of a flexible material such as cardboard or foam. Unfortunately, in today’s world It may be best to avoid the whole problem of weapons by not carrying one or by challenging your child to design a costume that is scary without one.


Trick or Treating

  • First, speak to your kids and explain your safety rules, expectations and consequences that may occur for unsafe or illegal behavior.
  • Kids should all trick-or-treat in groups. Walking around alone is never as safe as those in groups, especially after dark. Kids should be supervised and accompanied by a parent or trusted neighbor.
  • Keep a phone with you and report any unsafe or suspicious activity or persons immediately.
  • Have a plan if your child is separated from you and your group.
  • Cross streets at intersections and use marked crosswalks. Avoid walking out between parked cars.
  • Remind your children not to enter strange houses or cars.
  • Remind tweens and teens that nefarious activity will not be tolerated and that crimes committed while wearing masks can have increased penalties.


After the Quest for Candy

After a successful and safe night around the neighborhood, remember that the treats still need scrutiny before anyone eats them.

  • Remind your children not to eat treats until they’ve come home. To help ensure this, feed them a meal or a substantial snack before they go out.
  • Check all treats at home in a well-lighted place. Be especially wary of anything that is not wrapped by the factory or that is no longer sealed.
  • Contact the Sheriff’s Office or your local police department if anything suspicious is located.

Many of the tips here can be used year round, such as locking your doors, keeping valuables out of sight, keeping lights on and calling in suspicious persons.  With every person’s help, you can help make Celebration and Halloween safe for everybody.  I will continue reminding all residents and visitors of these tips throughout the year, especially as the end of the year holidays approach. In addition, as an effort to ensure everyone’s safety, extra patrols will be working that night. Please remember to call in suspicious persons or activity and take necessary steps to protect yourselves and your property.  Please be safe.


By Deputy Jerry Weiland

Osceola County Sheriff’s Office