Halloween is one of the oldest and most exciting holidays celebrated today dating back over 2000 years. It is celebrated every year on October 31st. Many cultures believe the dead both friendly and evil can roam the streets on the night of Halloween. Children and adults dress up in costumes, attend theme parties, visit haunted houses, play scary pranks, watch scary movies, and trick-or-treat in their neighborhoods.
Today, one of the biggest concerns is the safety of children on Halloween. Considering nefarious characters may be lurking in any neighborhood wishing to cause harm to children, the following safety precautions should be followed.
• Flash Lights – Only walk on sidewalks or well-lit paths. Kids should wear or carrying glow sticks so they are easily seen. Always hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see where you are walking.
• Walking – When crossing the street use the cross-walk, obey traffic symbols, and look both ways before crossing the street. Constantly watch for cars backing up and never walk between running cars.
• Trick-or-Treating – Adults should always trick or treat with children 12 or younger. They should stick to familiar areas that are well-lit and trick-or-treat in groups. If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home. Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses and never accept rides from strangers.
• Driving – Always drive slowly on any street with children trick or treating. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
• Costumes – Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation. Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses. Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible. Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes that are safe and are not tripping hazards. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers. Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision.
• Candy – Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat and avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
• Candles – Keep candle-lit pumpkins 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.
• Tripping Hazards – To keep homes safe for visiting children, parents should remove anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, and lawn decorations. Parents should check outdoor lights and restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
• Emergency – Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
Because pedestrian accidents are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind trick-or-treaters to stay in a group and communicate where they will be going. In case of emergency, always carry a cellphone for quick communication. Motorists may have trouble seeing children, therefore never cross between parked cars. Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.