Having been severely limited in terms of family outings and community events for the past seven months, Platte Canyon-area youth are probably looking forward to Halloween even more than usual this year.
That could mean a higher volume of candy-seeking ghosts and goblins roaming local neighborhoods Saturday night, especially neighborhoods such as Will-O-Wisp, which is located six miles from downtown Bailey on the northbound side of U.S. Highway 285.
Will-O-Wisp consists of about 116 homes, and its residents have a special knack for providing just the types of highly-coveted treats that costumed kids crave the most. Hence, the neighborhood plays host to more than 1,000 trick-or-treaters each year.
Making Will-O-Wisp even more desirable to parents and kids alike is the fact that the neighborhood is closely monitored and patrolled by Park County Sheriff’s Office personnel to ensure the safety of all parties involved.
Additionally, the neighborhood maintains exceptionally low traffic levels throughout the evening, as visitors are asked to park on Rim Rock Road, Range View Drive or in the Rim Rock Church parking lot, with transportation across the highway provided.
Sgt. David Leffler of the Park County Sheriff’s Office says patience and cooperation on the part of visitors is the key to ensuring a quality trick-or-treating experience.
“Safety is our number one concern, so if everyone would be patient and follow the rules everyone will have a great time,” Leffler said.
Sgt. Leffler also provided the following information from the Park County Sheriff’s Office for distribution in The Flume:
1. There will be no parking on the Highway, or in Will-O-Wisp. Parking will be enforced. All parking will be on Rim Rock Road, Range View Drive and Rim Rock Church parking lot, with transportation across the highway provided. No one will be allowed to cross U.S. Highway 285 on foot.
2. Due to safety concerns, PCSO will be limiting the event to the first 1200 people. After that number has been reached, the event will be closed to new visitors.
3. Masks are required.
4. Will-O-Wisp will be open to visitors from 5-8 p.m.
The following common sense tips for a safe Halloween are also recommended by the Mayo Clinic:
Trick or treat with care
Before your children start trick-or-treating, review these safety rules:
Get in on the fun. Accompany trick-or-treaters younger than age 12. Pin a piece of paper with your child’s name, address and phone number inside your child’s pocket in case you get separated. Encourage older kids to trick or treat with friends, parents or older siblings. Make sure someone in the group has a flashlight with fresh batteries.
Set ground rules. If your child will be trick-or-treating without you, plan a familiar route and set a curfew. Review safety rules, including staying with the group, walking only on the sidewalk, approaching only clearly lit homes, and never going inside a home or car for a treat. Have your child carry a cellphone.
Inspect treats before indulging. Don’t let your child snack while he or she is trick-or-treating. Feed your child an early meal before heading out, and inspect the treats before your child eats them. Discard anything that’s not sealed, has torn packaging or looks questionable. If you have young children, weed out gum, peanuts, hard candies and other choking hazards. If your child has food allergies, check candy labels carefully.
Ration the loot. If your child collects lots of goodies, consider doling out a few pieces at a time. You might ask your child if he or she would like to swap some — or all — of the candy for something else, such as a toy, book or outing.
Stay safe, be considerate on the home front
To prepare for trick-or-treaters:
Clean up. Put away tripping hazards, such as garden hoses, toys and bikes. Clear wet leaves, snow or other debris from the sidewalk.
Turn the lights on. Replace burned-out bulbs to ensure visibility at the walkway and front door.
Control your pets. Take no chances that your pet might be frightened and chase or bite a child at your door.
Consider sugar substitutes. Instead of handing out sweets, try stickers, fun pencils, rubber insects or colored chalk.
If trick-or-treating isn’t right for your child, consider planning a candy swap party with friends or neighbors. You might have a food-free costume contest and plan games and prizes, or check local schools or community centers for other options.
If you’ll be driving on Halloween, watch for children crossing the street. Be especially careful entering or leaving driveways and alleys. Extra caution can help ensure Halloween safety for everyone.