Commentary

October 7, 2016
 

HALLOWEEN SAFETY

Everyone wants to have a safe and happy Halloween for themselves, their guests and especially their children. Using safety tips and some common sense can help you make the most of your Halloween season, keeping it as enjoyable for your kids as it is for you!  There are lots of simple ways to help keep your child safe on Halloween, when accidents and injuries are more likely to occur.

The excitement of children and adults at this time of year can sometimes make them not as careful as they would normally be.  The following safety tips and suggestions can do a lot to stop tragedies from happening and help make the most of everyone’s Halloween!

Halloween Safety for Kids

Most kids love Halloween!  You get to dress up and get free candy! Wow…what a perfect holiday!

Some of you kids already know things that you can do to be safe, like how to cross the street, not to talk to or go with strangers and things like that.

Here’s some tips that we have just for you kids, to help keep you safe on Halloween night!  Some of these ideas are called “common sense” ideas; that means that they are things that you should know and use every day.

• Never, ever go into a stranger’s house or even ring their door for treats unless your parents are with you and say that it’s okay.

• Be careful when you cross a street.  Make sure to look in both directions and make sure that there are no cars coming.  If you have a little brother or sister with you, take their hand and help them get across the street, too.

• If you are an older kid or young teen, and going out with friends, make sure that your parents know where you are going and who you are going with. This may seem like a pain but they are your parents and they love you.  They just want you to be safe.

• If your parents give you a curfew, be home when they say.  It builds trust between you and them and they are doing it for your own safety.  If you are going to be late, call them and let them know.

• Make sure you carry a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.  If you carry a flash light, never shine it in the eyes of a driver.  This can cause temporary blindness on the driver’s part and they may not see you or someone else.

• If possible, carry a cell phone and know how to use it in case of an emergency.

• Only trick or treat at houses that have their outside porch light on.  This indicates that those residents are participating in Halloween trick-or treat.

Halloween Costume Safety

The right costume for you or your child can make all the difference for a fun and safe Halloween. Adults seem to go more for horror themed costumes, while kids seem to go for super heroes, fantasy or the popular TV cartoon of the day.

Letting your child pick out his or her own costume, within reason, will give them a sense of responsibility and make them feel more independent that they were able to select their own costume.

Whether store bought or homemade, Halloween costumes should be fun or scary, yet safe.  Below are some ideas to hazard-proof your Halloween fun. Costumes should be scary to those who see them, not those who wear them! Here are some easy tips to make your Halloween a safe and happy one!

• You should only purchase costumes that are made of flame retardant material.  (The federal Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA) requires costumes sold at retail to be flame-resistant).  If you are going to make a homemade costume, make sure you use fabrics that are inherently flame resistant, such as nylon and polyester.

• Try to work reflector strips into your child’s costume, a flash light or light stick to make them more visible at night.  This will make them more visible by drivers and you can keep an eye on them as well if they get ahead of you while out trick or treating.

• Make sure that your costume fits properly to avoid any accidents like tripping over a long dress or cape.  Make sure that it is comfortable since it will probably be worn for several hours. Do not include high heel shoes or long dangling pieces of costume that could be tripped over.

• Be sure to pre-test any makeup you plan to use by applying a small amount on the arm of the person who will be wearing it for about thirty minutes a couple of days in advance.  If a rash, redness, swelling, or any other signs of irritation develop where the makeup was applied, it could be a sign of a possible allergy or adverse reaction.

• If a mask is worn, make sure that the eye holes are big enough to see not only in front but peripherally as well.  You may have to cut them open further yourself.

• If going out with a group, choose or make the costume a unique one, so it can be spotted easily in a crowded area.  Use flashing lights or jewelry to stand out.

Halloween Party Safety

If you don’t like to send your kids out for trick or treating a good substitute is a home Halloween party. Setting up a Halloween party for your kids can be fun. This is also a great time for throwing a Halloween party for adults too!  You can hold a costume contest, have a theme party, the possibilities are endless and work for both kids and adult parties!

Here are a few Halloween party ideas to get you started:

• For a kid’s party, plan some good games to keep your child’s Halloween party running smoothly. Kids can have short attention spans so you want to keep the party exciting and flowing smoothly!

• For an adult Halloween party, keep it jumping with some rockin’ Halloween music!  Kids might like sound effects better and you can find all kinds of Halloween music and sound effects CDs for kids and adults at this time of year.

• If you are serving food or treats at the party, make your table setting a spooky one using fake spider web, mini pumpkins, and other Halloween items.

• When deciding on a menu, check and see if anyone attending the party has food allergies that might be a problem.  Common food allergies to dairy products, peanuts and shell fish can really put a damper on the festivities. Planning ahead for problems can make all the difference for your Halloween party!

• If using dry ice in a punch bowl, make sure that you use a large punch bowl and a smaller one that fits inside.  The smaller one is for the punch, the larger one is to put the dry ice and hot water in.  Keep them separate, dry ice is not for ingestion and can cause serious damage to internal organs if swallowed.

• Adults like to have as much fun during Halloween as the kids do and adult Halloween parties tend to be much wilder than kids Halloween parties.  You may want to separate the parties, one for kids and one for adults at two different locations.  Remember to chaperone the kids’ party.

• Using common sense can make a party a great one and avoid anything that may ruin it.  For adult parties, keep an eye on the drinking and don’t let it get out of hand.  Have one person stay sober and offer to drive those people home who may be too intoxicated to drive.

• If you are holding your party in your house, make sure that you move any breakable pieces of furniture or knick-knacks to another room where they can’t get broken.  A forgotten heirloom vase that hits the floor could ruin the night for you.

• Having a pumpkin carving party on the night before Halloween can be a great way to start off the festivities.  Either adults, kids or both, can have a wonderful time and get all your pumpkins carved before the big night!  Keep a close eye on children with carving instruments…you don’t want anyone hurt or getting cut.

• If you live in a friendly neighborhood, discuss having a Halloween block party with the neighbors.  Set it up outside, in the street and yards and get everyone involved.  Have carnival type games, a few yard haunts, food, music and dancing.

Halloween Safety Tips for Trick or Treating

Kids look forward to Halloween for many reasons.  They like the dressing up in costumes but the mostly they like it for the candy and treats!  Who wouldn’t? Even some adults still like to go our trick or treating.  It makes them feel young and happy again.  While this section sticks mainly to guidelines for kids, they are just as useful for adults.

Some parents like to take first dibs on some of the candy that the kids have picked up during the night.  It’s their reward for taking them around from house to house!  We suggest that you watch the candy intake when you all get home, too much at one time can lead to stomach aches and indigestion.  That includes mom and dad as well!

Make your child’s Halloween a memorable holiday and they’ll have good memories that last a lifetime!  If you are taking your kids out for the night, dress up as well.  Mom and dad should get into Halloween as much as the kids do!

Trick or Treating should be one of the great adventures of Halloween for kids! They can get dressed in scary costumes and go door to door, begging “Tricks or Treats!” from neighbors or at the local mall.  Lots of small towns have a Halloween Safe Night at the community center or school so kids can Trick-or-Treat safely but going door to door is the stuff of childhood memories!  It should be a fun time, without trouble and pain, so following some easy tips can keep your child safe every Halloween.

• Children should always go out trick or treating accompanied by a responsible adult.  If you have a group of kids going, the parents should choose two or three of them to go along and keep an eye on things.

• Some towns set a curfew for trick or treating which makes it easier for townsfolk to know who’s coming to their door.  Make sure and stick to the curfew times and stick to subdivisions and areas with a lot of homes so your kids can get in as much trick or treating as possible in a few hours’ time.

• Plan a safe route so parents know where their older kids will be at all times. Set a time for their return home.  Make sure that your child is old enough and responsible enough to go out by themselves.  Make sure that they have a cell phone.

• Let your children know not to cut through back alleys and fields if they are out alone.  Make sure they know to stay in populated areas and not to go off the beaten track.  Let them know to stay in well lighted areas with lots of people around.

• Instruct your children not to eat any treats until they bring them home to be examined by you.  This way you can check for any problem candy and get the pick of the best stuff!

• Instruct your child to never go into the home of a stranger or get into their car.  Explain why this is not a god idea and what to do if someone approaches them and tries to talk to them.

• Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.

• Let them know that they should stay together as a group if going out to Trick or Treat without an adult.

Halloween Safety Tips for Drivers

Halloween is a wonderful holiday, but because of increased foot traffic and that Trick-or-Treaters are out at night, the potential for automobile related accidents with young pedestrians increases four times on this night according to a CDC (Center for Disease Control) study.

Streets are literally crawling with all sorts of witches, ghosts, goblins, vampires and all other sorts of costumed people.  This makes for added responsibility for drivers to make sure that they drive safer than normal.

In many areas, people drive their kids into subdivisions and let them out to walk from house to house. Usually the parent follows behind in the car.  This can cause traffic jams in small areas and much confusion as kids dart between cars on the streets going from house to house.  A driver is already distracted because they are trying to keep an eye on their own kids and usually aren’t paying attention to much else.

Children and adults tend to be preoccupied and may not pay as much attention to safety as they should.  They may not see your vehicle or just assume that you see them automatically.  Stay on the defensive and you shouldn’t have a problem while driving on Halloween night.

• Don’t use a cell phone or other electronic device while driving on Halloween night.  You shouldn’t be doing this anyway, the rate of cell phone related auto accidents has jumped dramatically since the use of cell phones and texting.

• Pay extra attention, particularly to crosswalks, intersections and the side of the road.  Kids tend to walk along the curbs, cutting across the street to get to other homes.  Keep scanning all around you as you drive, whether as thru traffic or along with your kids as they trick-or-treat.

• Drive below the posted speed limit in residential areas during trick-or-treating hours.  This will allow you time to break if you see a child dart in front of you.

• Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway, they could be dropping off children.

• It might be easy for your child to mistake someone else’s car your car with the excitement of Halloween.  Put a Chem-Liht or lighted plastic Jack-O-Lantern on your car to make it more recognizable to your child.

• If you are dropping off or picking up your kids in an area, pull off the road into a safe spot and turn on your hazard lights to alert other motorists.  If you go with your kids from door to door, leave the hazard lights on so other drivers can see your car parked there.

Halloween Pet Safety

It’s Halloween night and the doorbell is continuously ringing.  This may be very frightening to your dog or cat or other pets.  You need to have a game plan for them, as well, on Halloween night.  Have a room set up for them and keep them behind closed doors during trick-or-treating hours.  Have food, water, a toy or two and a litter box if needed all set up for them.

You saw the cutest costume for your pet! Just because you think a certain Halloween costume for your fur person is cute doesn’t mean that they will enjoy wearing it!  Try it on them in advance and see how they react. If they don’t like it, don’t force them to wear it.

If you own a cat and let it go outside, remember that this a bad time of year for cats.  Vicious people tend to find Halloween an excuse to hurt or kill them. Keep them inside for a few days and nights.  While they may whine a bit because they are used to going outside, they’ll be safer in the house where you can keep an eye on them.  There’s no need for a pet to run free anyway, keep it home where it’s safe all year long.

Having an adult party?  Remember, dogs, cats, birds and other animals do not like being intoxicated.  Some people at the party may think it’s funny to get an animal drunk or high but it can kill them.  It’s better to hurt someone’s feelings by telling them to leave the party than to deal with a seriously ill beloved pet.

Here are some tips to keep your pets happy on Halloween.

• As much as your dog or cat may beg for some of your Halloween candy, always remember that chocolate is deadly to them in any amount.

• The wrappers, such as tin foil, can get stuck in your pet’s digestive tract and make them ill or cause death.  There are plenty of recipes for making homemade dog and cat treats, you can always make them on a Halloween theme if you want to make something special for your pet.

• Large dogs can have lethal tails when it comes to wagging them. I’ve seen a German Shepherd that we used to have clear a coffee table in two seconds flat when she got excited.  Don’t leave any lighted candles or Jack-O-Lanterns where they could be knocked over by a swinging tail or by a curious cat.  Not only could your pet start a fire but they could severely burn themselves in the process.

• If you are going to dress your pet in a costume, keep in mind that unless the dog or cat is extremely receptive to this kind of thing, you could be causing it discomfort and stress.  Some animals don’t mind at all but others do not want to be bothered with this kind of thing.  They’ll be under enough stress with the festivities going on outside and people constantly at the door so don’t cause them any more stress then you have to.

• If a pet costume comes with a mask, don’t use it.  While some dogs will love dressing up, they usually aren’t too keen on masks.  If you do use a mask on your pet, make sure that its eyes have plenty of room to see and that there is nothing covering its nose or confining its mouth.

• If you are having an indoor party, make sure that you put your dog or cat in a room where they won’t be disturbed.  Even if your pet is ultra-friendly and doesn’t mind loud noises, music and lots of people you should keep them separate for the night.  Also, be careful your cat or dog doesn’t dart out through the open door as you hand out candy.  Best bet is to just put them in a room with some food and water for the night and check on them once in a while to let them know everything is fine.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!




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