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Halloween Safety Tips

Trick or Treat Activities Set for Monday, October 31, 2016

The Sheriff Reminds Residents to Follow These Halloween Safety Tips:

We wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween this October 31st. We know it is one of the most anticipated times of the year and all children who plan to trick or treat should begin at 6 p.m. and end door to door visits no later than 8 p.m.

“Halloween should be filled with surprise and enjoyment, and following some common sense practices can keep events safer and more fun,” said Sheriff Butler


  • Watch for children darting out from between parked cars. Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
  • At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.


  • Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
  • Check the sex offender registry at when planning your child’s trick-or- treat route.  You can view maps that pinpoint registered offenders’ addresses in your neighborhood, and sign up to get email alerts when an offender moves nearby.
  • Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow.  Know the names of older children’s companions.
  • Make sure older kids trick-or-treat in a group.
  • Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route. Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger’s home.
  • Establish a return time.
  • Tell your youngsters not to eat any treat until they return home.
  • Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.
  • All children need to know their home telephone number and how to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency.
  • Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address and telephone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

Costume Design:

  • Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes. Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath. Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard.
  • Make sure that shoes fit well to prevent trips and falls.
  • If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored materials. Strips of retro-reflective tape should be used to make children visible.  Providing them with a flashlight is usually a good idea as well.

Face Design:

  • Do not use masks as they can obstruct a child’s vision.  Use facial make-up instead. When buying special Halloween makeup, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled “Made with U.S. Approved Color Additives,” “Laboratory Tested,” “Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics,” or “Non-Toxic.” Follow manufacturer’s instruction for application.
  • If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.
  • And especially for adults:  Remember that the North Carolina General Statutes make it illegal for a person who is 16 years old or older “while wearing any mask, hood or device whereby the person, face or voice is disguised so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, enter, be or appear upon any lane, walkway, alley, street, road, highway or other public way in this State” or to enter to be upon any property owned by the State, any county or any municipality in the State of North Carolina.


  • Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials.  Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
  • Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with retro- reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.
  • Carrying flashlights with fresh batteries will help children see better and be seen more clearly.

While Trick-or-Treating:

  • Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.
  • Walk; do not run, from house to house. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.
  • Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.
  • Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic if there are no sidewalks.


  • Give children an early meal before going out.
  • Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten. Wash fruit and slice it into small pieces.
  • Throw away any candy that is unwrapped or partially wrapped, or has a strange odor, color or texture.


  • Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.
  • Remove obstacles from lawns, steps and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters. Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles that could catch fire.
  • Do not leave your house unattended.

“Halloween is a fun time in Cumberland County,” Sheriff Butler concluded, “But let’s make it a safe time as well.  The major dangers are not from witches or spirits but rather from falls and pedestrian-car crashes.  I hope you will be careful and that you will enjoy the Holiday, but be particularly vigilant between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Monday, October 31st  – Halloween.”

IRS Scam 2.0


BULLETIN: IRS Impersonation Scam

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office has received information that citizens are receiving phone calls with a digital recording impersonating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Agent Steve Smith and are demanding payments. As a reminder, scam callers may also request payment of taxes on Green Dot Prepaid Cards, MoneyPak Prepaid Cards, Reloadit Prepaid Debit Cards, and other prepaid credit cards. These are fraudulent calls. Any call requesting that taxpayers place funds on an iTunes Gift Card or other prepaid cards to pay taxes and fees is an indicator of fraudulent activity!

REMEMBER: No legitimate United States Treasury or IRS official will demand that payments via Western Union, MoneyGram, bank wire transfers or bank deposits be made into another person’s account for any debt to the IRS or Treasury. Hang up on these fraudulent callers and go to the TIGTA scam reporting page to report the call.

SIGN UP to receive the latest SCAM ALERTS on the TIGTA Website.

WATCH the TIGTA Public Service Announcements on YouTube

Church safety and security materials and training available

The North Carolina Sheriffs Association has produced training materials be used by sheriffs and their personnel to train places of worship to develop security plans designed to minimize harm in the event of an active shooter.

The NCSA Church and Place of Worship Security materials that all sheriffs’ offices in North Carolina can use to provide training for church security are available upon request to churches and places of worship. The training is designed to teach church personnel and members how to develop a security policy and a plan to attempt to prevent critical incidents and how to react if a critical incident occurs during worship services.

Topics in the training materials include: conducting a security risk assessment, developing a place of worship security plan, responding to and immediately after a critical incident and the need for crisis intervention stress management afterwards.

Any church or worship organization desiring to have this training and these materials provided to them, may simply click here to e-mail us and provide us with the name, address and telephone number for the church or place of worship and the name, address and the person who should be contacted to arrange for the delivery of the materials and attendance at the training sessions. In addition, persons with responsibility for church security may telephone the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office – Office of Legal Counsel – at (910) 321-6764 to arrange for the training and delivery of the training materials.