Halloween is a holiday that combines many good things: costumes, candy and scaring your neighbors.
But it can also be dangerous. It’s the day when thousands of children walk dark sidewalks, approach strangers and gorge on sugar. On average, twice as many children are killed walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year.
Don’t ruin the fun, but don’t let your guard down either when it comes to being responsible. Here are some tips for making it a fun, safe, and still spooky evening:
• Pick a safe costume for your children. Make sure it’s comfortable, fits well and doesn’t obstruct their eyes. For every fatal injury, there are hundreds of children who tumble down stairs, fall off porches, or like Scout when dressed as a ham, run straight into trees. Don’t make your children run into trees and don’t dress them as hams. Swords and knives and other possibly dangerous costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
• Don’t let your children walk alone, or with a group you don’t know. It’s helpful to have at least a couple adults accompany the marauding youngsters, even if they hang back and watch from the sidewalk while the children approach homes.
• Make sure you follow traffic safety rules like any other day of the year: cross at corners, walk on sidewalks and stay out of the road whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the edge of the road facing traffic.
• Add reflective tape to costumes or bags to make sure drivers can see you. Flashlights are helpful, too, and can be useful on those long dark walks to the doorbell.
• Only let children approach houses that have lights on.
• Don’t let children enter any homes. Don’t let them take candy from people in vehicles. Children should never accept rides from strangers.
• Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers. Eat only factory wrapped treats, and limit the amount you eat. If you’re really disciplined, you can make the candy last till Christmas!
• Drivers: slow down, especially in residential neighborhoods. Be extra vigilant, especially when turning into driveways.
• Homeowners should take precations, too. Halloween, for those too teen for trick-or-treating, has been a day for pranks: throwing eggs or toilet paper or ghostly doorbell ringing. Keep a light on if you have candy. Feel free to sit on the porch to make things safer for the children, and it allows you to keep an eye on your property, too.
• Homeowners should make sure walkways are clear of obstructions. Candles should be kept away from the walking path and from other flammable objects to prevent fires.
• Think about offering a candy alternative: glow bracelets, stickers, temporary tattoos, etc. WARNING: The amount of fruit and vegetables you give away does, unfortunately, raise your chances of waking to a house covered in toilet paper.
Have a happy Halloween. Show off a creative costume, get in the community spirit and share fun and chocolate with your friends and neighbors.
And remember, Sexy Nurse Mom and Half-Decomposed Zombie Dad, Halloween is for the kids!