Monday, October 30, 2006

Have a Fun and Safe Halloween

By Leigh A

Here are a few tips and suggestions to make sure that your little ghosts and goblins have a great Halloween night.

First of all make sure your child has a costume that is safe. Make sure that the costume is short enough to avoid tripping over. Try to find costumes that are flame retardant, and review stop, drop, and roll techniques with your children should their clothes or costume catch fire. Check to make sure that shoes fit well and consider using non-toxic hypo- allergenic make-up instead of a mask. Hats and scarves should be tied securely to prevent them from slipping over the eyes of a child. Make sure that any costume props like swords or scythes have smooth tips that are flexible enough that they will not cause injury if they are fallen on. Place your name, address and phone number discreetly within the costume of your child or have them wear an identification bracelet or necklace. Have your child wear a watch that glows in the dark so they know what time to be home.

Now for the best part the trick or treating! If you are not going trick or treating with your child make sure that he or she goes with a responsible adult or for older children in a group. Be sure to know all the activities your child plans to attend such as parties or fall festivals and set a time for them to be home. Make sure that your children know to observe all pedestrian rules such as crossing the street at a corner or in cross walk, and walking on the sidewalk or if there is no sidewalk to walk at the farthest edge of the street facing traffic. Remind children not to cross the street between parked cars. Know the route your children plan to take and make sure that they know not to cut through back alleys or fields, try not to wander off the beaten path and stay in well lit areas. Teach children to only stop at homes that are familiar to them and those that have the lights on and to never ever accept treats or rides from strangers. Only accept treats in the doorway do not go inside the home and always say thank-you for treats. Remind children to walk and not run, place reflective tape on costumes and treat bags and make sure that your child has a flashlight or glow stick to make them more visible to motorists and other pedestrians.

Explain to your children the difference between vandalism and tricks and if caught vandalizing make sure they cleanup the mess. Teach children to be wary of strange pets and remind them that torturing animals is against the law. Tell your child not to eat treats and to they get home and you have inspected them and to never eat anything that is not commercially wrapped. A good meal of favorite foods before trick or treating will discourage children from filling up on treats or eating candy before you can inspect it.

Here are some preparations you can make for trick or treaters who might visit your home. If you plan to use jack o lanterns with candles place them far enough back and away from the door that costumes do not accidentally catch fire. A safer alternative would be to use the plug in kind just make sure you tape down the cords so no one trips. Take extra precautions and remove tripping hazards on your walk way and property. Examples might be low tree limbs, garden hoses, and flower pots. Sweep any wet leaves from your steps and walk way so that no one slips and falls. Consider purchasing individually packaged healthy food alternatives or non-food treats for visitors to your home. Some healthy choices might include individually wrapped cheese and cracker packages, sugar free gum, small bags of raisins, pretzels or nuts, granola bars, fruit roll-ups, gummy bears, peanuts in the shell, or fruit. Some non-food alternatives might be stickers, temporary tattoos, fun shaped erasers, colored chalk, crayons or color pencils, rings, and small balls or whistles. Make sure to leave your front porch light on so visitors can clearly see the path.

Hope every one has a wonderful Halloween and be safe out there!

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