"Pumpkins with Police" to be held Saturday in Mifflin Township

Tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. Mifflin Township police officers will hold a free event for kids aged 13 and under at 2455 Agler Road, the parking lot of the Mifflin Township police department. There will be free pumpkins (while supplies last), treats and cider for residents to enjoy. 

"It's a nice opportunity to get to know some of the kids in our neighborhood and their parents, and remind them of some critical safety tips for Beggar's Night," said Mifflin Police Chief William Price. "While Halloween is one of the most fun nights of the year for kids, it also can be dangerous and we want to keep our kids as safe as possible." 

According to Safe Kids USA, kids are twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car on Beggar's Night than any other night. In their excitement, children aren’t always paying as much attention as they should be and as it gets dark, it is difficult for for drivers to see them. In an effort to remind drivers to slow down, Mifflin Township police will staff up and will patrolling neighborhoods on Beggar's Night, Wednesday, Oct. 31 from 6 - 8 p.m., while passing out candy to neighborhood children. 

"As you’re driving home from work on Beggar's night, please keep in mind there will be children running around in our neighborhoods. For parents, the key to staying safe is visibility. Whether it’s the child's costume that illuminates or a flashlight, there are lots of options,” said Price. “Get your kids a set glow sticks for your wrist, walk with them using the flashlight on your cell phone, or put some reflective tape around their ankles and wrists. Whatever is easiest to keep your kids safe.”

Price also encouraged parents to discuss the following safety tips with their children:

  • Children should not be allowed to go out alone on Halloween. A responsible adult should escort the children while trick or treating.

  • Children should never eat any treats until they have been examined by an adult.

  • All fruit should be cut and and closely examined before eating.

  • Advise children that they should never enter a stranger's home.

  • Children should never accept rides from strangers.

  • Stay on the main roads; do not take shortcuts through backyards or alleys.

  • Instruct children not to stray from their group.

  • Adult escorts should carry flashlights.

  • Children should walk, not run, while trick-or-treating.

  • Props such as toy guns or swords should be made of pliable material; realistic replica firearms should never be used.

  • Use sidewalks whenever possible, not the street, for walking and look in all directions before crossing the street.

Additionally, Mifflin Township Firefighters remind parents that while some of the most classic Halloween decorations include paper ghosts, hay bales, dried cornstalks, Jack-O-Lanterns and candles, many of those items pose a huge fire risk.

According to the National Fire Protection Association:

  • From 2009-2013, decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 860 reported home structure fires per year.

  • Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source.

  • These fires caused an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13 million in direct property damage per year.

  • Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den. 

"It is so important to keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources, and use battery operated flameless candles, especially for pumpkins and decorations," said Mifflin Township Fire Chief Fred Kauser. “Costumes with trailing fabric that could drag over a flame should be avoided. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are big enough that they can see out to see potential dangers around them. And, remind them that should their clothes catch on fire, remember to stop, drop and roll.”

So whether you have a little super hero or fairy princess in tow, be sure to discuss these safety tips with your children and enjoy the evening.