Trick or Treat! No doubt you'll be hearing that a few times during these spookiest of days.
Halloween isn't just celebrated on October 31st these days. Many communities sponsor activities and events during the week leading up to the big day. Whether you go all out personally or just enjoy others getting into the spirit, here are 10 tips to keep trick or treating and Halloween fun and safe for everyone.
- Drivers be extra careful on the road. On Halloween, the streets are crawling with ghouls, witches and all sorts of creatures. Individual kids and groups can pop up where you least expect them on dark roads. Take it slower behind the wheel and be more cautious.
- Have an adult along. Trick or treating isn't what it was years ago. You need to be more careful in multiple ways. Even older kids need supervision. Adults can hang back so that kids feel independent but are still under your protective watch.
- Help your kids pick a costume that is safe as well as fun. Make sure that costumes and masks don't obstruct vision. Be sure the costume material is fire proof or treated to be fire retardant.
- Be visible. Carry a flashlight, glow stick and/or use reflective tape to help make kids more visible to drivers.
- Show and remind kids how to cross the street safely. Cross at marked intersections if possible and look both ways. If in a group, older kids should take the hand of younger kids. If there are no sidewalks, always walk facing traffic.
- Feed kids a good meal before trick or treating. It reduces the temptation to eat candy before they get home. All candy should be inspected by an adult before being eaten...besides there may be something good that needs "adult sampling".
- Use cell phones to stay in touch with older kids, who are going out on their own. Plan a route in advance and be sure your kids know not to deviate from it. You want to know where they are even with cell phone contact.
- Review normal safety tips. Kids shouldn't go inside a house of someone they don't know. Don't take rides from strangers.
- Know the details if kids are attending a party on their own. Make sure you've met the parents who will be supervising and get contact numbers.
- Discuss the difference between "tricks" and "vandalism. No kid is perfect and even well-behaved kids can bend to peer pressure. Throwing eggs at a house may seem funny, but it causes damage that can ruin Halloween. Even pranks that don't cause permanent damage such as TPing make a huge mess for a homeowner. If your kids are caught doing something, don't you clean up after them...make them apologize and do the clean up themselves. It's how they learn right from wrong...and responsibility.