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Operation Glow helps keep trick-or-treaters safe in Fairbanks

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Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2012 11:53 pm

FAIRBANKS — Interior Alaska law enforcement agencies did not get the state grant it has used in the past to pass out glow sticks to trick-or-treaters in Interior Alaska neighborhoods. But Operation Glow is nonetheless on this year thanks the donations from local businesses and local departments’ commitment to the program.

Now in its sixth year, Operation Glow plans to distribute 9,100 glow sticks this year, according to Fairbanks Police Lt. Dan Welborn, who started the program. That’s down slightly from last year’s 12,000. Fairbanks Police, Alaska State Troopers, North Pole Police and Eielson Security Forces are all participating in the program this year. Within the city, trick-or-treaters can expect to find Fairbanks police with glow sticks in Doyon Estates, Shannon Park, Taku Riverview Subdivision, Aurora Subdivision, Executive Estates, Island Homes and Hamilton Acres.

From six years participating in Operation Glow, Welborn had the following trick-or-treat safety tips:

• Stay in groups.

• Stay in well-lit areas and be with an adult.

• Watch out for stop and start traffic, many trick-or-treat from vehicles in the Interior because of the cold.

• Do not approach homes that don’t have lights on.

• Make sure the exterior layer of clothing is visible. Consider wearing lights or reflective tape.

• Finish early. Operation glow wraps up at about 8:30 p.m. to discourage trick-or-treating after 9 p.m..

The Operation Glow program had been supported from an Alaska Highway Safety Commission grant every year before this year. This year, it received support in the form of volunteers, gift certificates — distributed to drivers who are driving safely — and money for glow sticks from the following organizations and businesses: Fred Meyer, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Sourdough Fuel, Sportsman’s Warehouse, the Red Cross, Mount McKinley Hospital, Odom Beverage Distributors and the Fairbanks City Public Works Department.

•••

Facts and stats:

• 41 million: The estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters in 2011 — children age 5 to 14 — across the United States. Of course, many other children — older than 14 and younger than 5 — also go trick-or-treating.

• 115 million: Number of occupied housing units across the nation in 2011 — all potential stops for trick-or-treaters.

• $113 million: Value of pumpkins harvested in 2011 from the top six pumpkin-producing states: Illinois, California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

• Here are some places around the country that may put you in the Halloween mood:

Transylvania County, N.C. (population 32,820)

Tombstone, Ariz. (population 1,396)

Pumpkin Center, N.C. (population 2,222)

Pumpkin Bend, Ark. (population 276)

Cape Fear in New Hanover County, N.C. (population 18,388)

Cape Fear in Chatham County, N.C. (population 1,323).

Skull Creek, Neb. (population 268)

• 1,155: Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2010, employing 35,074 people. Pennsylvania led the nation in the number of chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 102, followed by California, with 100.

• 409: Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured nonchocolate confectionary products in 2010. These establishments employed 17,526 people. California led the nation in this category, with 49 establishments.

• 1,634: Number of costume rental and formal wear establishments across the nation in 2010.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

•••

Your Halloween safety advice:

We went on Facebook to ask readers to give advice to parents taking or sending their children out trick-or-treating for the first time in Fairbanks. Here’s some of the Halloween wisdom:

• Bill Gardner: Don’t eat all your children’s candy.

• Kim Davis: Dress warm!

• Corrie Kossow Garrison: Don’t buy your child a cheap plastic costume and expect it to last more than 10 feet past your door at 30 below zero.

• Miz Liz: Check out your kids candy before they eat it (as best you can) and you are allowed to eat some of your kid’s candy... It’s called the “candy tax” lol

• Kate Wilson: Wear reflective gear; go to houses with lights on; layer clothes, keep warm; mittens with the top flipping back will allow little hands to sneak candy along the route; police are in neighborhoods to help with safety, go there. If driving the kids around, be sure not to block driveways, crosswalks or corners, and drive slow!

• John Gaikowski: If you can’t go when it’s light outside, wear something that’s reflective and use a flashlight.

• Amber Holliday-Stinnett: Escort your kids door to door. Don’t let them eat all their candy that night. Kids don’t have the best willpower, and it’s mommy and daddy’s responsibility to prevent that tummy ache. Keep your kids well lit.

• Ami Oppe: Park and walk with your kid instead of driving along the road while they go from house to house. There are too many that do that, and it seems dangerous with all the kids on the road.

• Dennis Conard: Only eat commercially made candy. Save the homemade stuff for adults to check before eating. Best to just toss the homemade stuff unless it’s from grandma!

• Delaney Dixon MacMillan: Escort your children. Carry a light and be aware of the people and cars around you. Dress warm and most importantly, have fun with each other!

• Tabatha Miranda: Actually say “Trick or Treat”... wear reflectors, glow sticks, be courteous of people’s yards, don’t stay out past the cut-off time!

• Collin Amick: Go to churches instead. They are called fall festivals. They are inside buildings, you get candy, and normally all the volunteers are background check approved before they can even help in the church. I know University Baptist Church is having one the 31st.

• Janet Lee Dixon: Never go in someone’s house! Stay where you can see parents and look before crossing the road. And have fun!

• Monica Conger: Go to places you know, go to the door with your children, check their goods before u give it too them and carry a flashlight and use reflective gear

• Jana Canary: Wear warmer clothing than you think you need. Wear wool socks, snow boots and warm mittens and hat. If you have to come back early because you are cold it is not fun.

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter, @FDNMcrime.

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