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Safe Halloween trick or treating

Halloween evokes images of ghoulish frolic and fun for all. But, unfortunately, this is also a time when both kids and adults fall victim to injuries from accidents that could have easily been prevented. By following some common sense guidelines, both you and your children can have a fun-filled, but safe Halloween.

Selecting or creating costumes is always an exciting prelude to the big night. Make sure that the costume is not oversized which can cause the child to trip when walking or running. The costume should also be fire-resistant, to avoid catching fire from nearby candle-lit decorations. If your child carries any props, they should not have any sharp edges that may injure themselves or others. Masks should fit your child's face correctly and not obstruct their vision. The best way to avoid any problems is just to use make-up. However, there are some new mask types available that can be directly applied to the face and can be easily removed later.

Do not let young children attempt to carve a pumpkin by themselves. If you wish to include them in pumpkin decorating, its best that you carve the top and empty out the contents and let them draw the face on the pumpkin instead. If you decide to carve one yourself, purchase a kit rather than using your knife, as these are safer to use.

When trick or treating, have your child carry a flashlight, or glow stick. This will prevent them from being struck by car drivers that may not otherwise see them. Attaching some type of reflective tape or other item is also a good idea, especially if their costumes are very dark. If you are driving, be extra cautious and keep a sharp eye out for trick or treaters. Children should ideally trick or treat in groups, but be sure that younger children are accompanied by a responsible adult or older sibling. Instruct your children to stay in familiar neighborhoods and not go to homes that are not well lit. If your children will be trick or treating with others, make sure you know where they will be and set a time for them to return home. A good alternative to trick or treating is to attend neighborhood parties or other events. Many shopping malls are also offering store to store trick or treating for the kids. Of course, the most favorite activity for the kids is to consume the candy they've collected on their outings. Though the temptation may be great, advise them not to indulge until you have inspected them. When going through the candy collection, dispose of any loosely wrapped or unwrapped items, and those that have any suspicious looking markings or punctures. Keep items such as candy corn, caramels, and small hard candies out of the hands of children 3 years old and younger as these present possible choking hazards.

Not only may you and your children be subjected to accident and injury on this popular holiday, but also your pets are just as susceptible. Be sure that they are not fed any of the candy, despite how much they may beg for it. Also, keep any wrappings out of their reach as they can easily be consumed and cause them severe digestive problems. An active dog or cat may pose a fire hazard around any candle-lit decorations, so keep these out of their living areas.

Lastly, don't let the festivities and excitement of this holiday make you forget these basic safety guidelines. By following them, you can ensure a happy and safe Halloween for everyone.

Written by Jill Nash
Copyright 2002 by PageWise, Inc