From Kissimmee to New Smyrna Beach, Halloween message from law enforcement is vigilance

Olivia and Nicholas Catheline of New Smyrna dressed for Halloween / Headline SurferHeadline Surfer® video produced by Multimedia Editor Serafina Frederick / New Smyrna Beach will hold its 39th annual Halloween Parade at 4 p.m. today on Canal Street. You can watch highlights of last year's parade by clicking the video. At left, Olivia and Nicholas Catheline are dressed as a cowgirl and a gingerbread man, respectively, for this Halloween. 

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Olivia and Nicholas Catheline already had their costumes on this morning and Halloween doesn't even begin until dark. But that's because they have parties at school, said their proud mom, Misty Burris Catheline.

While they're in school today, she'll gear up for a night of trick-or-treating by their side. The key from law enforcement for a safe Halloween is vigilance like this New Smyrna Beach mom is planning to exercise.

Are you taking your children trick-or-treating? If so, here are some simple tips that focus on safety suggested by Kissimmee cops:

Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls. Walk in groups. Children should not trick-or-treat alone. Walking with a trusted adult is optimal.
Help drivers see you -- fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags. Hold a flashlight to help you see and others see you.
Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe. Look both ways before crossing the street and use established crosswalks whenever possible.
Avoid entering a home for treats unless accompanied by a trusted adult.
All treats should be examined prior to eating them. Look for choking hazards and tampering.
Limit the number of treats consumed at one time.
Eat only commercially-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats unless you know the person well.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents to put safety first as they prepare for the upcoming Halloween ritual on Thursday. A good place for parents to start to make sure that they’ve selected a safe trick-or-treat route is the Sheriff’s Office’s on-line sex offender alert system, OffenderWatch.

Free to users, OffenderWatch gives residents a way to monitor the home address of convicted sex offenders. 

With the program, residents can run address searches, view maps and register important addresses so that they can receive e-mail alerts if a sex offender moves near any of their registered addresses.

OffenderWatch can be accessed by clicking on the link here:

FAST FACTS: Daytona and New Smyrna tops in sex predators in Volusia County

Here's food for thought on Halloween: You'll want to keep your kids from visiting the residences of 80 convicted sexual predators listed with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. Of the total, 28 live in Daytona Beach and another 23 live in New Smyrna Beach. Edgewater is next with six, followed by three each in DeLand, Deltona, Orange City and Ormond Beach; two each in Oak Hill and Osteen; one listed in DeLeon Springs and two others as transients. Here is the link to the VCSO sexual predator page:

Did You Know?

24.7 pounds-per capita of candy is consumed by Americans on average on Halloween.
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.