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Tips to keep Halloween safe for all trick or treaters

With witches, goblins, and superheroes descending on neighborhoods across America, the American Red Cross offers parents some safety tips to help prepare their children for a safe and enjoyable trick-or-treat holiday. Halloween should be filled with surprise and enjoyment, and following some common sense practices can keep events safe and fun.

* Walk, slither, and sneak on sidewalks, not in the street. Look both ways before crossing the street to check for cars, trucks, and low-flying brooms. Cross the street only at corners. Don't hide or cross the street between parked cars.

* Wear light-colored or reflective-type clothing so you are more visible. Don't forget to put reflective tape on bikes, skateboards, and brooms, too!

* Plan your route and share it with your family. If possible, have an adult go with you. Carry a flashlight to light your way.

* Keep away from open fires and candles. Costumes can be extremely flammable. Visit homes that have the porch light on. Accept your treats at the door and never go into a strangers' house.

* Use face paint rather than masks or things that will cover your eyes. Be cautious of animals and strangers. Have a grown-up inspect your treats before eating them. Don't eat treats if the package is already opened. Remember, small, hard pieces of candy are a choking hazard for young children.

* Before children start out on their "trick or treat" rounds, 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 your children to stop only at houses or apartments buildings that are well-lit and to never enter a stranger's home. Establish a return time and stick to it.

* Tell your youngsters not to eat any treats until they return home and all goodies are inspected. Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautious, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.

* Pin a slip of paper with your child's name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

* Parents, other alternatives to trick-or-treating include church activities, fall festivals, school activities, community block parties or other community events.

Whatever activities you choose for you children, make it safe and make it fun.

Web posted on Thursday, October 18, 2007

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