Who doesn’t remember dressing up for Halloween and trolling the neighborhood for treats as a child—or possibly as an opportunistic teenager? It’s a ritual as American as apple pie, a true joy of youth.
Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous. From poisoned candy to kidnapping, it seems that Halloween offers a cornucopia of real-life boogiemen who are just waiting to pounce on your children.
It doesn’t have to be that way, however. With a little planning and common sense, everyone can stay safe and have a delightful time on Oct 31.
“We have been fortunate that we have not experienced any criminal concerns during the Halloween season,” Officer Dan Lane of the Gaithersburg Police Department said. “I continue to see a large number of families going out with their children celebrating and participating in the festivities.”
Using the acronym H-A-L-L-O-W-E-E-N, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following practical Halloween safety tips.
- Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
- Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
- Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
- Examine all treats in a well-lighted place for choking hazards and tampering before eating them, and eat only unopened treats that are in their original wrappers.
- Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you to see and others to see you. Always walk and don’t run from house to house.
- Always test make-up on a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
- Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
- Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
- Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic.
- Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.
- Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
- Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don’t stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
- Never walk near lit candles or luminaries, and be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
- If you are expecting trick-or-treaters or party guests, the CDC has some suggestions.
- Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters, such as low-calorie goodies and drinks. For party guests, offer a variety of fruits, vegetables and cheeses.
- Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily 60 minutes of physical activity.
- Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.
- Keep candle-lit Jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
- Drive slowly and safely, and always be on the lookout for miniature ghosts and goblins darting into the street.
By following these simple directives, Halloween can be a safe and delightful activity for the whole family—just like it’s supposed to be.