The giggle of children, ringing of doorbells, and flicker of flashlights up and down the road can mean only one thing: it’s Halloween! Whether you’re an empty-nester or a parent of octuplets, there are things you should do to prepare for the coming Halloween.
Preparing for Halloween
- Costumes should be bright-colored and use reflective materials where possible. Costume elements such as shoes, coats, etc. should fit well to prevent tripping and contact with flames—costumes should always be made of flame-resistant materials. Consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for increased visibility. Place your child’s name, address, and telephone number inside their costume or on a bracelet.
- Makeup is a better choice than masks; if masks are used, be sure they don’t interfere with eyesight, especially peripheral vision. If you use props with the costume such as guns, knives, or swords, make certain they are soft, flexible, and blunt to prevent injuries, and can be readily identified as toys, not the real thing.
- All children—and escorts—should carry flashlights with fresh batteries and use them! Chemical snap lights are another great way to increase visibility. Of course, candles and other flame sources should not be used by trick-or-treaters.
- Remind your children that 9-1-1 is a free call from all telephones.
- Review “stop, drop, and roll” with your children—a couple of times.
- Inspect the approach to your home in the daylight to identify and remove possible tripping hazards, such as garden hoses, low tree limbs, loose steps, etc. The trick-or-treaters are invariably in a hurry, and won’t be paying as close attention to where their feet are going as they should.
Before Nightfall on Halloween
- Make sure your kids eat a good dinner before they go trick-or-treating; you’ll want to check their treats before they eat them, and they’re more likely to wait ’til they get home if they’re not hungry while they’re out.
- Holiday lighting and special effects are very popular, but remember not to overload electrical outlets.
- Keep Jack O’ Lanterns, candles, hot electric lamps, and other heat sources away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials, or areas where children will be standing or walking.
- Make sure your older kids know where they are allowed to go and what time they must be home. To that end, make sure at least one in the group has a wrist watch.
- You know your pets best, but most of them don’t really appreciate the screaming, the strangers, and the activity of Halloween. Consider confining or segregating your pets away from the festivities, and make sure they’re all collared and tagged in case they get out and run off frightened.
- Trick-or-treat times vary by community, so drive with extra caution in unfamiliar neighborhoods on the nights around Halloween, and of course drive very carefully in your own neighborhood on trick-or-treat night.
- If you’re going to an adult party, make sure you use a designated driver.
A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. Here are some tips for all trick-or-treaters:
- Use a flashlight to see and be seen by others.
- Stay in a group and communicate where everyone will be going.
- Only go to homes with a porch light on.
- Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.
- Never cut across yards or use alleys.
- Never enter a stranger\’s home or car for a treat.
- Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations. Always walk. Never run across a street. Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks.
- Remove any mask or item that will limit eyesight before crossing a street, driveway, or alley.
- Don’t assume the right-of-way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops doesn’t mean others will, too!
- Never consume food items or drinks that may be offered; no treats are to be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an adult at home.
- Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
- Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is extremely rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious items.
- Although sharing is encouraged, make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies) are given only to those of an appropriate age.