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Safe and spooky: Police offer guidelines for gathering, giving out Halloween treats

By Robyn Claridy rclaridy@news-journal.com
Oct. 26, 2011 at 10 p.m.


Little boys and ghouls will soon be out foraging for treats. No tricks, please.

Though trick-or-treaters might see Halloween as an opportunity to be a princess or superhero for a day, law enforcement officials say the spooky holiday is one of their busiest weekends each year.

"The weekend of Halloween is definitely a high-traffic weekend for the police department," said Longview police spokeswoman Kristie Brian.

This past year, police responded to about 400 calls for service and arrested 18 people during the Halloween weekend, she said, and the numbers were similar for 2009. The department generally gets from 200 to 300 calls during a weekend.

In addition to extra patrol to ensure trick-or-treaters' safety, officers will be performing random checks on sex offenders' homes to ensure they are staying away from Halloween festivities.

Registered sex offenders are required by law to meet with their parole officers monthly. This month, each offender was given a list that stated their limitations for the Halloween season. Each paroled offender was required to sign the list in compliance with their parole.

Brian suggested researching a neighborhood for possible sex offenders before taking children there to trick-or-treat. The Department of Public Safety lists offenders at https://records.txdps.state.tx.us.

Ghosts and goblins are sure to haunt the streets Monday, which is Halloween, but could be out Saturday or Sunday evening as well.

City of Longview spokesman Shawn Hara said the the city doesn't designate a particular date for residents to trick-or-treat.

"However, the city of Longview and the Longview Police Department encourage everyone to help make the festivities safer for all involved," he said.

Unlike Longview, Gilmer has suggested Saturday for trick-or-treating on its downtown square.

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