Halloween is fun and trick or treating for free candy, as any child will tell you, is just plain awesome. However, there are risks and we must do what we can to make the holiday as safe as possible for the little ghouls and ghosts roaming the neighborhoods.
Here are some safety tips from security consultant and Patch blogger David Cullen. Check them out and go over the trick-or-treating safety tips with any child heading out in search of candy tonight. It will only take a few minutes and could make a big difference.
- Carry a flashlight and walk, don't run.
- Stay on sidewalks; obey traffic signals.
- Stay in familiar neighborhoods.
- Don't cut across yards or driveways.
- Wear a watch you can read in the dark.
- Make sure costumes don't drag on the ground.
- Shoes should fit (even if they don't go with your costume).
- Avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house.
- Carry only flexible knives, swords or other props.
- (lf no sidewalk) walk on left side of the road facing traffic.
- Wear clothing with reflective markings/tape.
- Approach only houses that are lit.
- Stay away from and don't pet animals you don't know.
- Make sure your child eats dinner before setting out.
- Children should carry quarters so they can call home or consider the pluses/minuses of a cell phone.
- Ideally, an adult should accompany young children of any age.
- If your children go on their own, be sure they wear a watch, preferably one that can be read in the dark.
- lf you buy a costume, look for one made of flame-retardant material.
- Older children should know where to reach you and when they need to be home.
- You should know where they're going.
- Although tampering is rare, tell children to bring candy home to be inspected before consuming anything.
- Look at the wrapping carefully and toss out anything that looks suspect.
- Make sure your yard is clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes, flower pots, etc. that can trip young ones.
- Pets get frightened on Halloween. Put them someplace to protect them from cars or inadvertently biting a trick-or-treater.
- Battery powered jack o'lantern candles are preferable to a real flame. If you do use candles, place the pumpkin well away from were trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing. Make sure paper or cloth yard decorations won't be blown into a flaming candle.
- Healthy food alternatives for trick-or-treaters include pre-packaged low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, mini boxes of raisins and single-serve packets of low-fat popcorn that can be microwaved later. Non-food treats: plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, coins, etc.
Before Trick or Treating
- Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit I well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
- Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
- Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet. Not on the outside of clothing where anyone can see it.
- Because a mask can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic and hypoallergenic makeup or a decorative hat as a safe alternative.
- When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories purchase only those with a label indicating they are flame resistant.
- Think twice before using simulated knives, guns or swords. If such props must be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury.
- Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
- Plan ahead to use only battery powered lanterns or chemical light sticks in place of candles in decorations and costumes.
- This is also a great time to buy fresh batteries for your smoke alarms.
Now that you're safe, have fun and take pictures!
Then send them to us! Enter your favorite costume pictures into our Halloween Costume Contest for a chance to win a $5,000 grand prize.