BY JAMIE LOBER
TRICK-OR-TREATING SAFETY TIPS & FUN ALTERNATIVES 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,” insists Patsy Zoumberis of SAFE Kids of Houston County in Warner Robins. “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.”
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.
Many children are unaware that “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 strangers 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 other tripping hazzards in their yards.
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, one of the festivals below might fit the bill.
Fall Fun & Festivals
Forest Hills United Methodist Church on Forest Hill Road in Macon offers a Pumpkin Patch beginning the second Saturday in October through October 31. Call 478.477.1161 for hours.
Pine Forest Baptist Church on Tucker Road in Macon offers a Fall Festival in October There is a cake walk, candy, refreshments, and other festival fun. Call 478.788.3883 for more information.
Martha Bowman Church on Bass Road in Macon hosts 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 on Eisenhower Parkway in Macon 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.
Twin Oaks Fun Farm offers a pumpkin patch where you can pick your own sunflower garden, hayrides, corn crib (kernel box like sand box), petting animals (goats, sheep, etc.), pavilion for picnics, playscape, and pumpkin activities. 1946 Johnstonville Road, Forsyth. 678.544.0756.
“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 also have trick-or-treating and music.
Corn Maze Play Days at Lane Southern Orchards happens each Fall. This includes a corn maze, hay rides, bon fires, and s’mores. Located 5 miles east of I-75 at exit 142 toward Fort Valley. Call 478.825.3362.
Elliott Farms Pumpkin Patch on Holley Road in Bibb County lets you choose your own pumpkin directly from the patch, including Georgia Bull Dog pumpkins. For more information, please call 478.035.8180.
Christ United Methodist Church on Russell Parkway in Warner Robins offers lots of fun in the church’s “Pumpkin Patch.” Free activities for children, including face painting, storytelling, bean bag toss, pumpkin facts, A-MaZ in Grace, and hay rides. Call 478.922.0211 for more information.
Also, check your local library for readings in the spirit of the holiday.#