By Jamie Lober OCT 2016
Trick-or-treating safety tips and alternative options at several Middle Georgia venues
The month of October makes us think of pumpkin patches, scarecrows and Halloween. “Halloween is supposed to be a spooky night, but parents do not have to be scared for their child’s safety. With Halloween being one of the most dangerous nights of the year for child pedestrians, it is important for parents to prepare their child properly to stay safe while trick-or-treating,” insists Patsy Zoumberis of SAFE Kids of Houston County in Warner Robins. Or you might choose to avoid trick-or treating altogether and celebrate Fall with one of the many alternatives listed here.
Some real problems have occurred in past Halloweens in Central Georgia. “Everything from having an open flame in a jack-o-lantern to wearing a mask that distorts vision has turned a festive evening into a terrible accident,” reflects Jenny Pomeroy, CEO of Prevent Blindness Georgia. Some props with sharp, pointy edges like swords, wands, and knives have caused children to get hurt. Masks, hats, eye patches, wigs, and even toxic makeup have been responsible for eye injuries in previous years.
Other children may be breaking the law without realizing it by wearing accessories that change eye color or give the appearance of cat’s eyes. “It is illegal to purchase any contact lens, whether it be corrective or not, without a prescription. Contact lenses are classified as medical devices and should only be obtained through a licensed eye care professional,” states Barbara Myers, communications director of Prevent Blindness Georgia. Eye infections, injuries to the cornea, and even vision loss have been experienced as a consequence.
When you teach your child some basic tips, your family will be able to enjoy the holiday. Lieutenant George Meadows of crime prevention for Bibb County Sheriff’s Office offers the following advice:
- Wear a fire resistant costume with large enough eye holes for peripheral vision
- Carry a flashlight, but walk only in lit areas
- Carry a cell phone or walkie-talkie in case you get separated
- Walk in the opposite direction if you see suspicious people
- Do not approach unlit houses
- Do not go near jack-o-lanterns as they may be a fire hazard
- Do not carry any sharp props
- Do not eat candy until inspected
- Do not talk to stranger nor get into their cars
- Look both ways before crossing the street
- Discuss the route you will take in advance
The Macon Police Department adds to this list and has a Halloween safety program that they can bring to your child’s school upon request:
- Do not pet animals you do not know
- Do not wear costumes that are easily stepped on
- Homeowners should make sure there are no hoses or ladders to be tripped over in their yard
If you are driving on Halloween, proceed with caution. “Remember that children are excited and may move in unpredictable ways,” says Zoumberis. If your child is under ten years-old, you should accompany him.
Some families have found that alternatives to trick-or-treating are equally enjoyable. If you are looking for a calmer scene, you may check out Elliott Farms in Bibb County on 4761 Holley Road. You can walk through a pumpkin patch, go on a hay ride, visit with farm animals, and even enjoy a picnic. There will be a special corn maze. Call 478/935-8180 for more information.
Laura Pounds at Mabel White Memorial Baptist Church tells us that there will be a Fall Festival at the church in Macon on October 28, 5:30–8 p.m. for the whole community. There will be inflatables for all ages, games, a rock-climbing wall for the more adventurous, and even pony rides. “Friendly costumes are welcomed,” she says. Hotdogs, popcorn, cotton candy will be free. Call 478/474-7577 for more information.
Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Macon will offer an evening of Fall Fun for the entire family. Activities will include inflatable games, face painting, hay ride, fire trucks, carnival games, dunking booth, hot dogs, and popcorn. Admission and food are free. “You don’t want to miss the fun,” states the coordinator Kelly Johnson. As a service project, they will be collecting toiletry items for Wesley Glen Ministries. For more information, please call 478/477-1161.
John Marc Cooling at Pine Forest Baptist Church in Macon tells us that the church will offer a Fall Festival on October 31. Inflatables, walking Bible characters contest, and food. Call 478/788-3883 for more information.
According to Mickey Moring at Martha Bowman Church in Macon, there will be a Trunk and Treat at the church. Kids may visit trunks in the parking lot for free candy. Free inflatable games, hot dogs, drinks, cotton candy, and popcorn. Call 478/477-1901 for more information.
Georgia State Farmer’s Market offers enjoyment and education at the same time. Parents are encouraged to take their child to learn about agriculture. “A lot of kids do not know what a corn stalk is or do not realize that a sweet potato grows on a vine and the potato is a root. We walk them through it,” explains Virginia McLendon, manager. There is a shopping advantage as well. “It opens up the door to purchasing the freshest produce you could possibly get. You can also teach your kids to buy in bulk and show them the joys of canning. You will find that making jellies is not that difficult. A lot of families are doing that to help stretch the dollar further,” she says.
“Macon Mall participants will enjoy approximately one thousand ducks in their fountain in the Belk court, lower level. The cost is one dollar per duck and a chance to win various prizes based on the number on the duck. The proceeds will be given to the local Make a Wish Foundation,” says Lili Donaldson, marketing manager at Macon Mall. Macon Mall will have trick-or-treating and music from four until six.
Enjoy Corn Maze Play Days at Lane Southern Orchards this Fall. The six-acre corn maze, popcorn, and hay rides represents simple fun. Bring a picnic lunch or grab a bite at the Peachtree Cafe. Mondays and Tuesdays are reserved for school groups.
Located 5 miles west of I-75 at exit 142 toward Fort Valley. Call 800/27-PEACH for more information.
If you prefer haunted houses, you may attend A Walk through Bedlam at 327 Mary Lane in Warner Robins. This house will take you back to when Warner Robins was founded and is referred to as Wellston or The Well of Souls. It is believed by some that evil spirits travel through the area. Although this event is free, any donations made will go toward the Make a Wish Foundation.
The Perry Branch Library offer readings in the spirit of the holiday. “There will be a Halloween-themed story time, but details will be released closer to the date,” says Jamie Addy.
Christ United Methodist Church, 511 Russell Parkway in Warner Robins is having a pumpkin patch and other festivities. “We will have face painting, storytelling and bean bag toss,” says Lou Ann Lucas, office administrator at Christ United Methodist Church. The Halloween celebration will start early here. “We are having a trunk-or-treat on the 23rd from six to eight in the evening where families can come. We will have a cookout where people decorate the trunks of their cars or sides of their vans and trick-or-treat from them,” shares Lucas. It is sure to be a good time for the entire family.