Trick-or-treaters look both ways

Megan Boldt

Witches, clowns, Teletubbies, princesses and Pokemon gathered Saturday at Commonwealth Terrace Cooperative to celebrate Halloween and learn about bike safety.
The St. Paul campus student-family housing complex held their annual Halloween party for children, sponsored by the University Police Department. About 50 costumed children attended.
Officers explained the importance of bike safety to the children. They taught them how to signal and how to ride on the right side of the road.
“The main emphasis of this is to teach kids to look for cars,” said officer Erik Stenemann.
At the bike rodeo, children rode through a parking-lot course designed to give them a hands-on experience with potentially dangerous bike-riding situations. Parents held up posters of cars to teach them how to watch for traffic.
The bike safety course was just one of several Halloween activities organized for the students’ families.
“We have people living here from all over the world,” said Tami Semple, a Commonwealth resident and volunteer child-care coordinator. “For many of these kids, this is the first time they’ve celebrated Halloween.”
Residents said the activities bring the community closer together.
“The kids get really excited,” said resident Amalia Mendoza, who just earned her master’s from the University. “The more activities we have the more we get to know each other.”
Her five-year-old daughter, Andrea, was excited about the candy and other prizes she received from the party.
Police also talked to the children about Halloween safety, since this will be the first trick-or-treating experience for many. Children were reminded to dress warm, wear reflective tape at night, and to stay on the road instead of cutting through yards.
The party ended with games, prizes and a costume contest. University police donated the treat bags and two bike helmets for the children.
Megan Boldt covers police and welcomes comments at [email protected]