Officials give safety tips for Halloween weekend

Published 8:16 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2016

If your Halloween costume this year is a clown—scary or not—you might want to think twice.

Bainbridge and Decatur County officials are urging trick ‘r treaters to be safe this upcoming Halloween weekend, but a big part of their warnings arise from the recent clown hoax that has taken the country and media by storm the past two months.

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Bainbridge Public Safety Director Jerry Carter asked residents not to wear clown costumes. BPS has already received numerous calls about people dressed as clowns, although no official sightings have been reported in Decatur County yet. Carter expects that to change this weekend.

“My suggestion is, don’t wear a clown costume,” Carter said. He added that BPS will be prepared to arrest anybody intentionally creating problems for the community in a clown costume throughout the weekend.

Decatur County Undersheriff Wendell Cofer also discouraged clown costumes, but belived the bigger focus should be on bright colors and reflective tape that kids can wear while roaming the neighborhoods for candy.

“The more important thing is traffic safety,” Cofer said. “You are much more likely to be harmed crossing the street and running across the street than any other way. Drivers need to also be aware that kids will be running around.”

Halloween is a particularly deadly night due to drunk drivers. In 2015, more than half (52 percent) of all Halloween fatalities in the U.S. on Halloween night involved a driver or motorcycle with an BAC of 0.08 or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Cofer asked that people who use slow moving vehicles like golf cars or pull-behind trailers make sure the vehicles are equipped for the roadway with working lights and blinkers. If you receive any candy that is even slightly suspicious, don’t hesitate to throw it away.

“My suggestion to homeowners is if they don’t feel safe about people coming to door, they don’t leave lights on,” Carter said. “That an indication that you have candy.”

The Department of Community Supervision sex offender coordinator Chan Strickland and Decatur County Investigator Justin Bedwell have been working this week to compile an up-to-date list of sex offenders in Bainbridge-Decatur County for residents to be aware of their locations. The sex offender registry can be found at

Carter and Cofer both said to call 911 if trick ‘r treaters see anything that raises their eyebrows.