Besides Christmas, Halloween is one of the best times of the year to be a kid. It's not an official holiday on our calendar, but every kid will tell you it should be. Halloween is a night of fun, costumes and candy. The most memorable Halloween for me was when my best friend and I went trick or treating in our neighborhood. I was a Pirate and he was the Mummy. My friend's costume kept coming unwrapped that night, it slowed us down. But my mom safety pinned his costume and saved the day. Halloween and trick or treating can be so much fun, sometimes we forget or put little thought into safety.
Nearly four times as many children aged 5 to 14 are killed by motorists while trick or treating, than compared to other nights of the year. Parents can help prevent their children from getting injured around Halloween by following these safety tips.
Tips for Adults:
If you are not planning to accompany your child while they trick or treat try to make sure your child has a pre-programmed cell phone with them. If they there is an emergency or they encounter a problem they can call you directly.
Know the planned route your child will be using to trick or treat. Have your child call and check in with you every hour or so.
Get on your internet and check your state website for sex offenders registered in your area. To do this, search for your state sex offender website, every state has one. Look up your zip code and there should be a list of registered sex offenders in your area or neighborhood. Make sure your children stay away from these houses
Help your child pick out or make a costume that will be safe. Make sure the material is flame retardant or non flammable. If your child is wearing a mask make sure the eye holes allow good peripheral vision. Make sure there is nothing on the costume for your child to trip on.
Make sure your child takes a flashlight or attach glow sticks to their costume for better visibility.
Be careful around pets. Make sure your children don't approach pets while wearing their costumes. Even family pets may bite a child because they don't recognize them.
Explain to your children under no circumstances should they get into a car with a stranger. No matter what that person says.
Always check your child's candy when they arrive home. There are some sick people out there who enjoy hurting children by placing sharp objects in candy. If you discover candy that looks tampered with, throw it away. If you discover something placed in candy to intentionally injury a child, call the police immediately.
Tips for Kids:
Never trick or treat at a stranger's house unless your parents are with you and say it's OK.
Be careful when crossing the street. Make sure you look in both directions.
If you are an older child or teen and you are going out unaccompanied by parents make sure you check in with them and let them know your plans.
Trick or treat with a group of friends instead of going by yourself. It's more fun and safer.
Be sure mom and dad check all your candy before you eat it.
Halloween Home Safety: (Underwriters Laboratories)
Don't put more than 3 strands of colored lights together. Electric cords should not be placed under carpet or tacked up on walls with metal nails.
Inspect all your outside and inside decorations for damage or wear. Cracked sockets frayed or bear wires and loose connections could create a fire hazard.
Beware of candles. Candles especially in a jack-o-lantern should be put up out of the reach of young children. Try battery operated L.E.D. Candles for a safe option.
Make sure your home; especially your front door is well lit. Make sure there are no trip hazards such as cords or decorations.
So talk to your children about Halloween Safety before the big night. You can also go to the UL Halloween Safety Quiz online. This site allows your child to take a Halloween Safety Quiz and print out a "Halloween Safety Expert" Certificate. Now that's cool.
Chuck Dicken is the Community Watch Coordinator for Mifflin County Communites That Care.