Dorothy Russell (from left) purchases a few Halloween decorations from the Dollar Tree with her daughter, Claudette, and great-grandson, Dameon Fuller.
JONESBORO — The Clayton County Police Department plans to beef up their surveillance and security to keep the trick-or-treaters safe.
“We always put out extra police officers on the roads during the holidays,” said officer Tong Wen.
This year, Tong said, they will be working in conjunction with the Clayton County Sheriff’s department, patrolling neighborhoods where children will be present. He said it’s important for parents to take the extra safety precautions, especially when receiving candy from neighbors.
“Parents need to look at what their kids are getting,” said Tong. “Never accept any candy where the wrappers have been opened.”
Tong said for parents who are apprehensive about taking their kids door to door, a safer alternative could be to take their youngsters to an organized event.
“There are a lot of churches and local stores that [host festivals] and pass out candy to children,” he said.
The Dollar Tree in Stockbridge hosts a Halloween event every year.
“Any kid who has on a costume, or no costume, we will give them a bag filled with candy,” said store manager Michelle Eno.
She said being a mother of a 7-year-old, she would rather see parents take their children trick-or-treating to an organized event rather than scouring neighborhoods for goodies.
“At least in the store, you know what you are getting,” said Eno. “It’s a safe environment, kids, and parents usually have a lot of fun.”
She said the employees will be dressed in costumes and will pass out the candy to customers as they come in that day. She said they will even have an arts and crafts table set up. The event, she added, will be all day at the store from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.
“Every year, we get a lot of people who bring their kids into our store on Halloween,” said Eno. “Many know we do this because they come in and by their own candy. Everything is a dollar, so we’ve got the best prices in town.”
However, Eno said if parents insist on taking their kids out in their neighborhoods to trick-or-treat, they may consider buying glow-in-the-dark stickers and wristbands and flashlights.
“You can never be too safe,” she said. “You have people who like to speed through neighborhoods at night and they do not like to slow down for children, so the flashlights and stickers come in handy.”
However, Tong added for those thinking about speeding — think again. They will have a close watch on that, too.
“We can’t catch everybody, but we will be [heavily] monitoring speeding,” said Tong.