Utica, NY (WIBX) - Children throughout the area are already preparing their Halloween costumes, but Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol wants them to think about safety, too.

Maciol says trick-or-treaters should always walk in groups, stay on the sidewalk and stop only at houses where the lights are on.

He also suggests parents accompany smaller children and walk with them to each house. Treats should be inspected once you get home for anything suspicious.

And, as always, if you're throwing a Halloween party, the Sheriff says to be responsible and not drink and drive.

For all of the Sheriff's tips, see below.

•             Face paint is safer than a mask - and it's more fun!
•             Choose costumes in light colors or add reflective tape.
•             Check that costumes are flame-retardant and not so long as to pose a tripping hazard.
Trick-or-Treaters Should:
•             Travel in pairs or groups and stay together.
•             Walk on the sidewalk or on the left side of the road facing traffic.
•             Stop, look and listen at corners.
•             Plan a safe route; stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on.
•             Carry a flashlight or glow stick.
•             Carry a cell phone if trick or treating without an adult.
•             Be respectful of other people and their property.
Trick-or-Treaters Should NOT:
•             Go inside a stranger's house or get into a stranger's car.
•             Run across yards or streets.
•             Venture down dark, empty streets.
•             Approach dark, unlighted houses.
•             Go between parked cars or crisscross back and forth across streets.
Parents with Younger Children:
•             Should accompany young children.
•             Plan to trick-or-treat while it's still light out.
•             Walk with your children to each house and wait in the driveway for them.
•             Children should save all their candy until they get home.
•             Feed your children a meal or substantial snack before trick or treating so they are less tempted to eat the candy.
•             Inspect all treats when you get home. Throw away any unwrapped, open, or suspicious looking goodies.
•             If your child becomes suddenly ill, IMMEDIATELY call your doctor or dial 911! Try to determine what the child has eaten and where it came from. Save all wrappers.
At Home:
•             Put away anything trick-or-treaters could trip over.
•             Turn the lights on and replace any burned-out bulbs at the walkway and front door.
•             Remember, your jack-o-lantern and any other candles or electrical decorations can be a fire hazard. Keep       them out of the reach of small children and away from flammable materials.
•             Never leave your house unattended. If you have to leave your house, make sure all the doors are locked.
Even if you don't have children:
•             If driving on Halloween, watch for trick or treaters in the streets and darting out from between parked cars.
•             If hosting or attending a Halloween celebration that includes alcohol, be responsible!  Don't drink and drive!