Tips for a safe Halloween

It is that time of year again. Costumes are being chosen and bought or made and candy is on display in all of the stores. Everyone is preparing for the grand old tradition known as 'trick or treating.'

Unfortunately, in this day and age, most people can't simply pat their kids on the shoulder and send them out to get candy. Too many horror stories have circulated about poisoned candy or perverts trying to get children into their home. On top of that, many neighborhoods have heavy traffic and few or no sidewalks. Trick or treating can be a challenge. Handling it in a manner that lets your children stay safe and have fun can be the biggest challenge of all. Here are some tips.

  1. Accompany your children. Children under twelve should always be accompanied by an adult. Besides, that way you get to dress up as well. Older children may go alone, but with friends. No child or teenager should go trick or treating alone and large groups are best.
  2. Advise your children on which candy they should not take. Unwrapped candy or home made treats should be avoided. Take only wrapped candy or bagged and sealed treats. Although poisoned candy is an urban myth, do you really want to eat candy corn that has been sitting out for hours? If your children have allergies, make sure to remind them not to take candy they are allergic to. Go through their bags afterwards and remove any problem items. Dispose of fruit that is bad or has holes in it and make sure the rest is washed before they eat it.
  3. Take a flashlight or glow stick if it is dark or likely to be dark before you get back. Consider incorporating reflective strips into costumes. Although most people are aware that Halloween night means children everywhere, accidents can still happen. A flashlight will also help avoid tripping over discarded items.
  4. Obey any local rules or curfews about trick or treating. Some localities have a cut off time. Apartment buildings often have residents display a ribbon or decoration if they are alright with trick or treaters visiting. Don't go to unlit houses and don't enter yards with dogs loose in them.
  5. Don't enter houses or cars. Don't cut through people's yards late at night, or across darkened parks. Don't go to the house of people you have had problems with. There is no sense seeking out conflict.
  6. Consider taking children, especially very young ones, to trick or treating events rather than door to door. These are often held downtown or in malls, with merchants giving out candy. Often these events require that kids be in costume.

Follow these tips and enjoy a safe and happy Halloween. If you are giving out treats, then give out only wrapped or bagged treats, don't give out baked goods and be careful with fresh fruit. Keep your porch light on so the little ghosts and goblins can find you. Always buy more candy than you think you are going to give out and save some for yourself. After all, it is that time of year.




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