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Boos Without the Hoos

Halloween safety starts at home

Halloween is the time of year for tricks, treats, costumes and sweets. But this night of spooky fun for your little ghouls and goblins also can be dangerous.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other day.

“A lot of kids go trick-or-treating in the dark, when it’s harder for drivers to see them,” says St. Joseph’s Children’s advocate Bevin Maynard. “It’s important for parents to remind children about walking safely before they leave their house.”

Maynard suggests that kids carry flashlights or glow sticks, use reflective trick-or-treat bags or have reflective tape on their costumes. Parents also should choose face paint over masks, which can make it hard for kids to see where they’re going.

“Typically, children under age 10 should not trick-or-treat without adult supervision,” Maynard says. “If kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without supervision, make sure they stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.”

Parents also should follow other safety guidelines.

Rules for dressing:

  • Light or bright colors
  • Flame resistant materials
  • Reflective tape
  • Non-toxic face makeup rather than masks
  • Small, flexible costume props
  • Shoes that fit
  • Tags with the child’s name, address and phone number
  • No flimsy or billowy material that can be a tripping hazard

When trick-or-treating:

  • Have an adult accompany children
  • Carry a flashlight
  • Stop at street corners
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street
  • Never walk between parked cars
  • Walk on well-lit sidewalks and paths
  • Never cut across yards
  • Stop only at houses with outside lights on
  • Carefully check treats before letting children eat them
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Drive safely:

  • Be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic on and near the road.
  • Take extra time to actively look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and pedestrians.

On the home front:

  • Put away anything trick-or-treaters could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Turn the lights on to ensure good visibility at your door and the walkway leading up to it.
  • Control your pets.
  • Instead of sugary treats, consider handing out healthier snacks such as individual packs of raisons, trail mix or pretzels, or items such as stickers, Play Doh, glittery pencils or rubber insects.

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