An increase in ghosts, zombies and superheroes will take to the streets this Halloween and so too will an increase in Charles County Sheriff’s officers.

The CCSO will increase patrols of neighborhoods while costumed youngsters canvass the county for tricks and treats. In addition to the patrol officers on regular duty, the operation will include officers and commanders assigned to other units.

Although the CCSO does not designate an official time for Halloween celebrations to occur, the Agency recommends trick-or-treaters keep to the traditional Halloween time frame: 6-8 p.m. Some neighborhoods choose to host other Halloween celebrations, but such festivities are coordinated and announced by the particular neighborhoods.

The CCSO is also sharing the following safety tips and encourages families to share them with trick-or-treaters before Halloween festivities begin:

For Trick-or-Treaters:

* Young children should always trick-or-treat with an adult, and older children should never trick-or-treat alone.
* Be careful crossing the streets. Cross at the corner and look both ways.
* Stay to the side of the street or, where possible, on a sidewalk.
* Only visit homes whose residents you know.
* Do not eat candy that has not been inspected by a trusted adult or any homemade treats or unpackaged foods like fruit.
* Never cut across yards or use alleys as short cuts.
* Never accept food or drink from strangers.
* Never enter a stranger’s home or car.
* Only visit well-lit homes.
* Carry a flashlight.
* Make sure your costume has something reflective on it so you are visible to passing motorists; that it is short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement and contact with flames; and that it is flame resistant. Remember to “Stop, Drop, and Roll” if your costume catches fire.
* Carry with you your emergency contact information.
* Obey traffic signals.
* Do not trick-or-treat past 8 p.m.

When Giving Candy:

* Offer only wrapped or packaged candy.
* Never give homemade treats. Not only are the ingredients not listed — a threat to children with food allergies — but parents are encouraged to discard them. Parents are also encouraged to discard any unpackaged foods, even fruit, so also refrain from offering these.

* Remember that children are going to get a lot of candy. Consider other possible gifts like crazy pencils, one-serving cereal boxes, stickers, etc.
* Keep your lights on if you are participating in the festivities and be sure to clear a safe path for trick-or-treaters. Remove items such as hoses and wet leaves to prevent falling and injury.

When Inspecting Candy:

* Use your best judgment. Do not let children eat any homemade treats or unpackaged foods.
* Make sure candy is tightly wrapped. If it looks like it was unwrapped and then re-wrapped, discard it.
* If you believe your candy has been tampered with, call the CCSO.
For Motorists:

* Be cognizant of trick-or-treaters, pedestrians, and pets as you drive through residential areas.
* Stop at all crosswalks.
* Remember, the posted speed limit is 25 mph through most residential areas, but that does not mean you must drive that fast. Slow down, especially in areas with high pedestrian traffic.
* As always, don’t drink and drive.