Halloween frights are supposed to be fun and being stuck with kids on self-induced sugar highs should be the worst-case scenario.
But for lots of parents, acceptable trick-or-treating times, drivers speeding through neighborhoods and children getting hurt or lost in the dark are the scariest part of Halloween.
Colorado Springs police Lt. Cari Graves said there is no set trick-or-treating schedule and the general rule is that houses with glowing porch lights are in on the fun.
"Trick-or-treating gets going around sundown and goes on for two or three hours," Graves said. "If people don't want to hand out candy, or they're done for the night, they can just turn off their porch lights."
Residential neighborhoods on military bases have established trick-or-treating times for Thursday. At Fort Carson, it's allowed from 6 to 8 p.m.; at Peterson Air Force Base, it's from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. And at the Air Force Academy, kids will be roaming the streets from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Police have compiled a comprehensive safety tip list for trick-or-treaters, parents and homeowners to ensure a screamin' good time and avoid real scares. Kids should stay on sidewalks and in familiar neighborhoods, obeying all traffic signals and carrying flashlights. Approach only homes that are lit.
For parents, accompanying smaller children at all times should be top priority. Older trick-or-treaters, if allowed to go out on their own, should have a way to reach adults, such as a cellphone. Knowing where they'll be trick-or-treating and agreeing on a return time will help keep everyone at ease.
Homeowners should ensure safe decorations and preferably use battery-powered jack-o'-lantern candles to avoid fire hazards. All treats should be pre-packaged, and all pets should be kept inside to avoid accidents.
For the full version of the list, visit tinyurl.com/SpringsTreat, or call police at 444-7000 with questions and concerns.
"Police will have officers aware that there will be considerably more pedestrians out and about," Graves said.