TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Thousands of Tampa Bay Area children got a head start on trick-or-treating Saturday at Curtis Hixon Park and the Tampa Riverwalk.

Bethany Patram’s daughters came dressed as Disney princesses.

“I mean Tampa Bay is gorgeous in general,” she said, “but having this community come out and having everyone with their families is incredible.”

Throughout the Halloween weekend, Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw said extra police officers will be on patrol.

He’s also encouraging families if they see something suspicious, to say something.

“Whether it’s candy, whether it’s a suspicious person or a package, be extra vigilant and extra alert for everything,” Chief Bercaw said.

Patram said she always makes sure to check her children’s Halloween candy.

“And if there’s anything questionable,” she said, “I’ll replace it. I’ll buy them whatever I need to do to make sure they still have a good time.”

Patram said she plans to keep an eye on her Disney princesses at all times when they go out for trick-or-treating in their neighborhood.

“Make sure (they’re) always with an adult, hold my hand,” she said she tells her children before trick-or-treating. “Make sure you know where mommy and daddy is at all times and if you let go of my hand you better scream because I’m going to follow you.”

Chief Bercaw said ideally trick-or-treaters should walk on the sidewalk, but if they’re in the road they should try to stay in well-lit areas.

The chief recommends bringing flashlights or reflectors, especially if your children are wearing dark costumes.

He is also reminding drivers to be extra patient and alert for the next few days.