Halloween enjoys a spirited tradition, but the excitement of the night can cause children to forget to be careful.
Children on base will be Trick-or-treating Oct. 31 during the designated hours of 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. under the watchful care of the 412th Security Forces Squadron and the squadron’s Pumpkin Patrol volunteers.
Over the years the Pumpkin Patrol has proven to be beneficial and provides an added level of safety to both parents and children while they Trick-or-treat.
But even though Security Forces and the volunteers will be out in force in the housing areas, parents, children and motorists all need to always play it safe so a fun holiday doesn’t turn to sadness brought on by injury.
There is no real trick to making Halloween a real treat for the entire family – people need to put safety first.
The major dangers are not from ghosts or goblins but rather from falls and pedestrians being struck by cars.
The National Safety Council urges motorists to be especially alert on Halloween. Watch for children darting out from between parked cars. Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully. Be especially watchful for children in dark clothing – particularly at twilight and later in the evening.
Before children start out to trick or treat, parents should:
- Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
- Plan and discuss the route Trick-or-treaters intend to follow; know the names of older children’s companions
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route
- Establish a return time
- Teach children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger’s home
- Tell youngsters not to eat any treat until they return home
- Review all appropriate Trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules
- Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group
Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes. Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath. Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard. (Falls are the leading cause of injuries on Halloween.)
If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored materials. Strips of retro-reflective tape should be used to make children visible.
Masks can obstruct a child’s vision. If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.
It’s best to use facial make-up instead of masks. When buying special makeup, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled “Made with U.S.-Approved Color Additives,” “Laboratory Tested,” “Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics,” or “Non-Toxic.” Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.
Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects. Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light- colored or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.
Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.
Going house to house
Children should understand and follow these rules:
Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision
- Walk – do not run – from house to house
- Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards
- Walk on sidewalks, not in the street
- If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic
- To ensure a safe Trick-or-treat outing, parents are urged to:
- Give children an early meal before going out
- Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten
- Wash fruit and slice into small pieces
- When in doubt, throw the treats out
Be sure to be safe and have a howling good time this Halloween!