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.