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Blair urges safe Halloween celebrations

Halloween is right around the corner, and children will soon be donning costumes and heading out the door to trick or treat and fill their goody bags with candy.

Trick or treat will be 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 28 in Blair County municipalities.

While local law enforcement officials said they hope plenty of treats will be gathered by children, they also urge adults to be aware of the holiday and the youths out along the streets in the dark.

During a press briefing Wednesday at the Blair County Drug Coalition, officials offered tips about how to stay safe this holiday season and cautioned drivers to not drink and drive.

“We want everyone to have a safe Halloween,” said Richard Oldham, Hollidaysburg Police Department sergeant. “We put public safety as our No. 1 priority, and we want everyone to know that we will be out enforcing the laws to ensure that everyone stays safe.”

Officials said that although Halloween is still a kids’ holiday, many adults have joined in on the fun.

Adults consuming alcohol at costume parties and other events have created a new danger for drivers and pedestrians, officials said.

With Halloween falling on a weekend this year, extra precautions will be taken to limit the number of impaired drivers on the road.

“If everyone is going to be out having a fun time, please don’t drink and drive,” Oldham said.

“If you feel different, you drive different. Being in law enforcement, I’ve seen the effects far too many times of people drinking and driving,” he said.

Oldham said police officers will be enforcing the laws to keep everyone safe and that includes cracking down on underage drinking parties.

Police said they will specifically be targeting adults who are furnishing alcohol to minors and individuals using fake IDs to purchase alcohol.

“If we find anyone that has a fake ID, not only did they just give their information away to foreign companies that make these IDs, but they are also getting cited for it,” said Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement Supervisor Denny Smolko.

Police also urged the general public to use caution and stay safe during Halloween.

Monica Jones, who is the safety press officer at PennDOT, said that trick-or-treaters should refrain from darker-colored costumes and should also be cautious while wearing a mask.

Jones also warned the public to not wear headphones and always have a flashlight on hand while trick-or-treating.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 6,200 pedestrians were killed in 2019 due to traffic accidents.

“As pedestrians, we want people to follow and understand the rules,” Jones said. “Never assume a driver sees you, and always obey all traffic signals as a pedestrian.”

Police also urged trick-or-treaters to never travel alone and to report any suspicious activity, adding “if you see something, say something.”

“We want everyone to have fun,” Oldham said. “But you need to be responsible, and you need to be safe.”

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