October 31, 2017 9:57:25 AM
For law enforcement and emergency room workers, tonight's Halloween celebration is expected to feature two qualities they like most: Quiet and short.
"It's a week night," Columbus Police Department Assistant Chief Fred Shelton noted. "That means people have to go to work (Wednesday) and kids have to go to school, so we expect it to be calm. There shouldn't be any late-night problems you run into when Halloween is on a Friday or Saturday."
At the emergency room at OCH Regional Medical Center in Starkville, staff also expect a fairly routine night.
"We expect (tonight) to be really like any other night for our staff," OCH emergency room supervisor Eddie Coats said. "We stand ready to respond to any trauma or illness that may come through our doors."
Coats, a registered nurse, said the kinds of cases they typically treat on Halloween, based on previous years, involve intoxication and accidents from ATVs, cars and falls, almost all of which are easily preventable.
"We encourage everyone to take extra precaution when driving as children will be walking door-to-door, and it's also a good idea for trick-or-treaters to have some type of reflective tape or light so that they are visible," Coats said. "Parents should also examine their children's candy."
Shelton said Halloween usually includes the kind of nuisance calls common to the holiday.
"People ringing doorbells and running, people having their yards rolled with toilet paper or eggs throwing," Shelton said. "It's not really a busy night for law enforcement when it's on a week-day night. A lot of the drinking and disturbances you have when people are out late don't happen much."
Shelton also encouraged drivers to use extra caution, especially in the peak hours for trick-or-treaters, from 5-8 p.m.
"Be sure you examine your child's costume to make sure it's visible in the dark," Shelton said. "If it's not, add some reflective tape, something that drivers can see."
Shelton said all trick-or-treaters should be accompanied by an adult.
"The other thing I'll say is trick-or-treat in the neighborhoods you are familiar with. Really, just use common sense," he said. "We want everyone to have a great Halloween and that means it's a safe Halloween."
Unlike last year, a rainy Monday, tonight's weather should be agreeable for trick-or-treating, with no rain and temperatures in the 50s.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]
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