Mixed in with the ghosts, goblins, ninjas, dinosaurs and vampire costumes this Halloween, Lac La Biche County will have a small army of peace officers in full uniform.
Lac La Biche County peace officers will be joined in their annual Halloween safety patrols this year by cadets from the community's Peace Officer Induction Program.
"Our officers are out looking for suspicious activity and generally anything that is unsafe. These types of things include speeding vehicles, kids who are harassing other kids, persons in medical distress, residents who may have had acts of vandalism, unsafe activities such as crossing in between vehicles or darting out in front of vehicles and other things," says Enforcement Services Manager Chris Clark.
In the days leading up to All Hallow's Eve, youngsters in the community will get some advance safety tips from peace officers during school visits focusing on Halloween safety.
"We will be out in the schools on October 31 working with local students on promoting Halloween safety and providing a colouring sheet. We will also be handing out our glow sticks like normal," said Clark, explaining that the glow sticks also help motorists to see youngsters who might be a little too pre-occupied with their treats to remember their safety lessons. "We want motorists to be thinking about safety when they are travelling around on Halloween night. Be mindful of little goblins and other characters lurking in the night that may be too excited to remember to be safe."
Another glowing light hoped to scare up some attention on Halloween night will come from the barbecue burners cooking up light snacks at the peace officer and fire services headquarters on Beaver Hill Road. Clark said a family barbecue will be held at the building with officers dishing up goodies from the late afternoon to the early evening on October 31.
Other Halloween safety tips being dished out to residents include a reminder to homeowners to keep their properties well-lit and free of clutter so youngsters can walk safely, a reminder to parents to use flashlights when walking with their young children, a caution to all trick-or-treaters to always use crosswalks and visible intersections to cross streets, and a reminder to parents to check the treat bags of their kids for improperly wrapped items or potential allergy concerns.
Along with the patrols, peace officers will be on-call through the night to handle complaint calls that come in. Clark reminds community members not to be spooked about calling in a concern.
"The public is encouraged to always reach out to call us on our complaint line as well to report concerns," he said.
On a lighter note, one concern the peace officer boss expects he personally will have on Halloween night is more of a treat than a trick — Will there be enough Mars bars in his daughter's Halloween bag?
"My favourite candy is, hands down, the Mars bar, followed by a Crispy Crunch. It is safe to say that when I check my daughter's candy, none of those will be left," Clark said with a laugh.
Halloween this year, October 31, falls on a Monday, so many school-age youngsters won't be hitting the streets until later in the afternoon. The long-range weather forecast for Halloween is chilly, with temperatures expected to drop to the minus single digits by nightfall. Last year, the overnight low on Halloween was -7 Celsius.