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Local authorities urge caution this Halloween
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NFPA provides safety tips to keep everyone safe this Halloween, including:

• When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can clearly see out of them.

• Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.

• Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.

• It is safest to use a glow stick or battery-operated candle in a Jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside Jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times.

• Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.


With Halloween falling on a Friday this year, there are sure to be tricks and treats for everyone.

However, officials are urging safety to be at the top of everyone's sweets list with a set of safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

"Everyone loves decorating their homes and wearing colorful costumes on Halloween, and we want them to enjoy it all," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA's vice president of Outreach and Advocacy, "but this holiday can quickly turn hazardous if proper precautions aren't taken."

NFPA's most recent statistics show that decorations were the first items to be ignited in 920 reported home structure fires on average each year, resulting in six deaths, 47 injuries and $12.9 million in property damage.

In addition, nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source. Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room or den.

Trick or treating will also be available at plenty of spots across the county, with several schools and public spaces holding safe and fun events.

Dawson County Parks and Recreation will be holding its annual Trunk or Treat from 4 to 7 p.m. at Rock Creek Park.

The park will designate a specific area for the trunk-or-treat event and will section the area off so that vehicle traffic will not be permitted.

Also participating in the ghoulish glee is the North Georgia Premium Outlets. The event, for ages 13 and younger, will be from 4 to 7 p.m. A list of participating stores is available at the mall's customer service desk in the food court.