Some parents are so spooked by Halloween that they smother their kids with rules that are guaranteed to kill a good time. That’s no good.
But parents need to make decisions that guarantee their kids’ safety.
Here are some helpful tips.
- Wear a costume that is easy for your child to walk, see and be seen. Make sure costumes don’t drag on the ground and that shoes fit.
- Try to trick-or-treat when there is still light outside – best for younger children.
- Carry a flashlight, so you can see and be seen easily.
- Wear a watch you can read in the dark.
- Walk, don’t run. Try not to cut across yards, driveways or alleys.
- Obey traffic signals and always cross streets at the corner or in a crosswalk.
- Stay on sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, always walk facing traffic.
- Stick to the route you planned with your parents.
- Be cautious of strangers.
- Avoid wearing masks that impair your vision.
- Visit only houses that are lit.
- Accept treats only in the doorway – never go inside a house.
- Be aware of vehicles – look for movement not just sound as some hybrids have little engine noise.
- Wait until you get home to eat, sort, and check your treats.
- Wear a costume that makes it easy to walk, see, and be seen.
- Use makeup instead of a mask. A mask may keep you from seeing well. If you must wear a mask, take it off before crossing the street.
- Ensure that props like fake knives, swords, and toy guns are made from a flexible material to avoid accidental injury.
- Realistic-looking toy guns or other toy weapons should never be used.
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their trick-or-treat rounds.
- Select costumes, masks, wigs, and beards made of flame retardant materials – check the labels.
- Try to purchase costumes with reflective markings and colors, or add reflective tape.
- Because a mask can block eyesight, consider makeup or a hat as a safer alternative.
- Plan a route for older children and make sure at least two buddies accompany your child.
- Discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior – and the consequences of inappropriate behavior.
- Make sure your child has dinner before heading out for the evening
- Make sure your child has a cell phone or change for telephone calls and that the flashlight batteries are fresh.
- Eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway.
- Clear your front yard of flowerpots, low tree limbs, ladders, and garden hoses -- anything that might be hazardous to children rushing from house to house.
- Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets and do not block exit doors.
- Always keep jack o’lanterns and electric lamps away from drapes, decorations and areas where children and pets have access. Battery powered jack o’lanterns are safer than a candle flame.
- Loud, excessive noise can frighten your pet. Consider keeping your pets in a separate room away from Halloween activities.
- Don’t leave your pet in the yard as it might run away, be hurt or stolen or injure a child in its confusion and panic.
- Candy, especially chocolate, is toxic for animals and can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart disturbances, and even death.
- Be careful of pets around a lit pumpkin. Pets may knock it over and cause a fire. Curious cats especially run the risk of getting burned.
- Don’t dress your pets in costume unless you know they love it. Otherwise, it puts a lot of stress on the animals.
- It’s not a good idea to take your pet trick-or-treating. Dogs may become uncontrollable and/or frightened and unexpectedly bite a stranger.
- Halloween is a dangerous time for cats. During the last half of October, black cats are especially prone to become lost, stolen or tortured. The safest cat is always an indoor cat.
- Be slow and careful all evening and look for the unexpected.
- Adult Halloween parties should have a designated driver(s).
Lock your vehicle and put all valuables out of sight in your trunk.
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