With Halloween less than a week away, and holiday revelry likely to begin in earnest Friday night, Vancouver police and first responders are sharing tips to help ensure the festivities stay safe.
Vancouver police held a media event on Friday with representatives from the fire department, BC Ambulance Service and fireworks industry to help run down a list of do’s and don’t’s meant to keep people out of the emergency room, or the back of a police cruiser.
WATCH: Vancouver first responders unveil Halloween safety tips
Drugs and alcohol
The Halloween safety advisory comes just weeks after Canada legalized cannabis, a fact that hasn’t escaped police.
“If your Halloween celebrations include consuming alcohol or cannabis products, please plan ahead,” said Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Const. Jason Doucette on Friday, urging people to use designated drivers if they are planning to party.
Doucette said there will be extra officers on the ground downtown and throughout the city over the weekend, with an anticipated spike in calls and impaired drivers on the roads.
Police also advise parents to send their kids out with a snack, rather than letting them eat candy while they’re trick-or-treating, so that candy can be checked at home.
That advisory is particularly relevant in the post-cannabis legalization world. While edibles still aren’t legal, they remain common — as was shown last year, when a trick-or-treater was mistakenly given a packet of cannabis gummies.
WATCH: Call to ban fireworks in Vancouver
While fireworks are banned in a number of Metro Vancouver municipalities, they remain legal to use on Oct. 31 in the City of Vancouver. However, users must have a permit from the city, be 19 years of age, buy them from a licensed retailer and use them on private property.
Even then, officials are reminding the public that safety always needs to come first.
“People should be reminded to keep them away from structures and vegetation,” said Vancouver Fire and Rescue Capt. Jonathan Gormick.
“Please read and follow the directions on fireworks, and always wear the safety equipment described.”
Paramedics are also warning that fireworks are not toys, and that they can result in serious injuries if used improperly.
“The explosion injuries, the soft tissue injuries. We find that there’s kids who are unsupervised with sparklers… it burns you,” said Marilyn Oberg, paramedic chief with the BC Ambulance Service.
“It’s not only the injuries that come from being burned or struck with things. It’s also the people who get scared from things and they run. Also animals have a terrible time during fireworks, because they run, and then their owners run.”
Breaking the rules will result in fireworks being seized, and can find the user faced with a $500 fine. Roman Candles, bottle rockets and firecrackers are also illegal.
WATCH: Last minute Halloween costumes and activities
Costumes and street safety
Police are asking Halloween revelers, whether they’re trick-or-treating or heading to a party, to use common sense when picking a costume.
That includes ensuring that any weapons that are included are clearly identifiable as replicas, not the real thing.
People hitting the streets should also do their best to remain visible, including adding reflective tape, glow sticks or flashlights to their costumes to ensure drivers can see them.
Drivers, likewise, are being reminded to slow down, be patient and be aware that there will be children on the street — some of whom may be excited and not watching their surroundings.