Halloween is an exciting time for many children and families. Planning trick-or-treat routes and checking costumes and candy carefully are the keys to celebrating Halloween safely. It’s also important for homeowners to take some simple steps to help keep trick-or-treaters safe.
Tips for trick-or-treaters
• Stick to neighborhoods children know well and visit only well-lit houses.
• A parent or other responsible adult should always accompany young children, and older kids should trick-or-treat in a group rather than alone.
• Plan the route your kids will take and make sure they know not to enter a house or get in a car without your permission.
• Check the North Carolina sex offender registry to find out houses to avoid when planning your child’s trick-or-treat route.
• Equip trick-or-treaters with a flashlight with fresh batteries, and make sure they know their home phone number and how to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency.
• Remind children to walk, not run, and to stick to sidewalks rather than cut across yards. If the neighborhood lacks sidewalks, make sure your kids know to walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
Tips on costumes
• Choose a costume that is brightly colored or will reflect light, or add reflective tape.
• Make sure that costumes and shoes fit well to prevent trips and falls.
• Look for costumes with labels that say flame resistant or fire-retardant.
• Consider non-toxic, hypoallergenic makeup or a hat instead of a mask that can block eyesight.
• Choose costume props that are safe and won’t cause injury, for example, a sword or broomstick made from cardboard.
• Tape or pin your child’s name, address and phone number to his or her costume.
Tips on treats
• Check all treats before your children eat anything. Make sure kids trick-or-treating without a parent know to bring all candy home for inspection before they eat it.
• Throw away any candy that is unwrapped or partially wrapped, or has a strange odor, color or texture.
• To keep kids from munching on candy while they trick-or-treat, make sure they eat a good meal first or send a snack with them.
• Tell children not to accept unwrapped food or open drinks they may be offered.
Tips for homeowners
• Remove tripping hazards such as flowerpots, tree limbs or garden hoses from around your porch and yard before neighborhood children come knocking.
• Turn on your porch light to let trick-or-treaters know they’re welcome.
• Make sure your pets are secured.
• Place jack-o-lanterns with lit candles out of the reach of kids and away from anything flammable.
• If you plan to be away for trick-or-treating or a Halloween party, don’t advertise the fact that your home will be unoccupied on social networking sites like Facebook.