Halloween Tips For Officers

Halloween Tips

Working as a police officer on Halloween poses special challenges. Think about it. In a world where someone wearing a mask is normally thought to be up to no good, you’re suddenly faced with scores of masked citizens. Kids are out and about darting in and out of traffic. They’re excited and and may not listen as well as they normally would. And practical jokes go horribly wrong. Needless to say, it can be a wild and trying night for cops.

Here’s a short list of tips for officers working the streets on one of their busiest nights of the year.

1. Stay alert. If it looks wrong, then it probably is.

2. Carry copies of outstanding warrants with you—the people you’ve been unable to locate. This is the one night when the dummies will probably answer the door thinking you’re a trick-or-treater.

3. Carry some candy in your patrol car. It’s the perfect time to show kids that you’re really one of the good guys.

4. Watch out for lone costumed adults, or those walking in groups. They’re probably up to no good.

5. Watch out for people tossing things off overpasses. For some reason, Halloween seems to be THE night to bomb police cars with bricks, rocks, and pumpkins.

6. Be alert for kids who wear actual guns as part of their costumes.

7. Park your patrol car and walk for a while. Mingle with the trick-or-treaters. Keep them safe. It also keeps the bad guys guessing your next move.

8. Drive slower than normal. Watch for kids!

9. Keep an eye on the registered sex offenders. They aren’t allowed to pass out candy! They shouldn’t be opening the door for any kids, either. And they shouldn’t have Halloween decorations displayed in their yard or on the house. Pay them a pre-Halloween visit to remind them of their court-ordered restrictions.

10. I preferred to patrol with my car window down, even in the winter time. Halloween is the only night of the year when I didn’t. Too many flying objects!

11. If possible, have extra officers working the streets on foot, in plain clothes.

12. Bring plenty of extra handcuffs. You’ll probably need them before the night is over.

13. Please, please, please wear your vest!

And to everyone else…

2 replies
  1. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Thanks. Great list. As a Mom, I’m aware of the precautions for Halloween, but you touched on things I never would have thought about from a LEOs POV.

    Niave me new even thought that LEOs had to defend against flying objects at all much less on Halloween. And costumes with guns? Wow, I had cowboys and cowgirls and it never crossed my mind.

    I did mention to my husband yesterday that with the kids we used to worry about candy being tainted and now parents have to worry about perverts.

    You gave me much to thhink about it I write a Holloween story. I do injoy all the NCIS Halloween shows where they talk about it being a querky night for LEOs.

  2. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    Good advice!

    Some police departments will even check your kids’ candy as a precaution (my former PD did).

    I have to admit, I don’t miss people calling the PD on the phone and asking, “When is Halloween?” Yes, they actually did that.

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