Eliminate the most frightening part of Halloween.
We’re talking about the nagging worries, shared by most parents and adults, that someone might get seriously hurt while collecting treats in the neighborhood or masquerading at a school or neighborhood party.
Follow the tips given below – and other sensible Halloween-related advice supplied on the websites of organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Safety Council – to help keep your child and other costumed revelers safe from roadway accidents, nasty tumbles, wardrobe troubles and other ghoulish mishaps that can mar the late-October fun.
• Select costumes and accessories (wigs and such) with labels stating they are fire resistant.
• Avoid decorative contact lenses (unless you get the OK from an eye-care professional).
• Ensure that masks and hats fit properly, not blocking the child’s vision. If possible, opt for non-toxic makeup rather than a mask.
• Forgo ill-fitting shoes or dangling costume parts that could be a tripping hazard.
• If a costume incorporates a sword, stick or other object, be sure it’s not sharp or too difficult to carry.
• If the child ventures out after dark, affix reflective tape to his or her costume and trick-or-treat bag. Take a flashlight, too.
• Young children should be accompanied while trick-or-treating by a parent or guardian; older children should be advised to stick to an agreed-upon route and to never enter a stranger’s home. At least one person in the group should carry a cellphone.
• Pedestrians always should use sidewalks where available; cross the street only at designated areas and well-lit locations.
• Never assume a motorist can see you and will yield the right of way to you.
• Visit only the homes of acquaintances or people whose porch lights are on; do not go into a stranger’s home or vehicle to accept a treat.
• Don’t run from house to house, and avoid shortcuts across yards where objects (clotheslines, garden hoses, etc.) could cause injury.
• A child should not eat his or her collected treats until back at home, where an adult should inspect the items.
Prepping for visitors
• Remove wet leaves or snow from sidewalks and steps.
• Clear the porch and yard of potential tripping hazards.
• If displaying candle-lit pumpkins, keep them away from high-traffic areas, as well as a good distance from curtains and other flammable objects. Better yet, substitute a battery-powered candle.
• Keep pets away from the action so they are less likely to bite/scratch a stranger or to get spooked.
By exercising caution through Oct. 31, you are helping to ensure that any shrieks you hear in the neighborhood are children’s shrieks of Halloween delight, not of horror.