[Guest Post]

Heading Out on Halloween? 5 Safety Tips to Remember

The night of Halloween is less than a month away, and visions of spooky sugarplums, witches on broomstick and timid ghoulies are beginning to descend on our dreams. With this holiday comes the promise of candy, good-natured tricks and little ones running around in costumes.

But Halloween also has a dark side. You can never be too cautious during the night of the 31st as it is easy to let your guard down and get into trouble. Whether you’re attending a party or strolling through the neighborhood with your kids, a few extra precautionary measures can go a long way. Here are a few tips to help make your Halloween safe and frighteningly fun.

Costume Tips
Ensure your and your children’s costumes are easy to walk in to avoid trips and stumbles. Don’t let parts of your costume drag on the ground. Any weapons you wear as part of the costume need to be flexible and soft so that they won’t accidentally cause cuts or bruises on yourself or others. Adding reflective tape to your costume can help other trick or treaters see you in the dark.

Safety in Numbers
Kids should go out trick-or-treating in a larger group with adult supervision. Parents should try to coordinate with neighbors and develop a buddy system to prevent any child from getting lost. If possible, provide your child with a cell phone so they can call home or one another if someone gets separated or needs help.

Home Safety
If no one will be home the night of Halloween, make sure you lock all your doors and windows and keep your house well lit. Although it’s common to turn off your porch and front lights off to signal that no one is home to give out candy, it puts your house at a greater risk of being burglarized. Instead, put a bowl of candy out front with a note asking people to not disturb you in your home. It is also a good idea to install some extra security measures, such as a smart camera or doorbell camera, so that you can check on your home on your smartphone even if you’re away.

Situational Awareness
Being aware of your surroundings plays a large role in staying safe on Halloween. Sometimes it’s merely a matter of knowing what’s going on right around you, like looking both ways before crossing the street to get to another house or avoiding candles and other flames so that your costume doesn’t catch on fire.

If you’re out after dusk, carry a flashlight with you. When you get to a house for trick-or-treating, stay outside to receive treats, and be sure the porch light is on and lets you see around the door and porch area easily.

If you have a pet with you, keep the pet away from jack-o-lanterns, candles, luminaries, other flames, and all non-pet food, especially food containing chocolate, raisins, xylitol, garlic, and other ingredients that are unsafe for pets.

Unsafe homemade foods, inappropriate treats and foods that have been altered as part of an unwelcome prank can all spell trouble. Accept and eat only those treats that are factory-sealed and that have not been opened, ripped or cut in any way. Double-check the name of the treat on the packaging, as well.

After waiting all year for Halloween, don’t let any opportunities for danger or unsafe activity ruin your night. It’s a holiday with a spooky, scary story behind it, but that doesn’t mean you, or your friends and family, should find themselves in real trouble. Follow a few simple precautions beforehand and All Hallows’ Eve will go off without a hitch.

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