Stay safe this Halloween with these easy tips

Halloween has always been one of the most beloved American holidays, but today we are faced with the realization that it is not what it once was. Instead of a fun family experience, it can now lead to potentially dangerous situations. To stay safe this Halloween without compromising the enjoyment, you must beware of tricks disguised as treats! By taking these precautions you can protect yourself and your younger siblings.

It may be smart in the days leading up to Halloween to check local government websites for registered sex offenders in the area where you plan to be on Halloween. Trick-or-treaters should not be wandering the streets alone. Everyone, but especially younger children should be escorted by a herd of friends and/or adults. Prepare a flashlight with fresh batteries to keep the way well lit, and to warn cars of your presence.

Be careful with your costume props, even if they seem harmless!
Be careful with your costume props, even if they seem harmless!

Most Halloween festivities occur after sunset, and so cars pose a danger to anyone costumed in dark colors. Make sure to bring a flashlight or accessorize with glow sticks to increase your visibility. Reflective tape is also a great way to warn people and cars of your presence if you do not have a flashlight. Keep a cell phone on your person or with a friend in case there is an emergency, or you get lost. Another reminders is to beware of strangers and not to accept car rides from anyone you don’t know, be sure to avoid drunk drivers.

Sometimes even your own costume can be dangerous. Make sure that costume accessories such as swords, knives, and other pointy objects are short, soft and flexible to avoid any injuries that may occur.

If you choose to go trick-or-treating make sure that you do not eat any of your hard-earned candy right away. After you return home, examine the candy for things that could be choking hazards, or signs that it may have been tampered with. Some things to look for are: lumps or bulges under the wrappers, ripped packaging, stained wrappers or boxes, candy that isn’t in the original box or wrapper, treats that are unsealed or partly unwrapped, unusual candies, brands or manufacturers that you’ve never heard of, candy with a strange or smell, or that has already passed its expiration date.

Keep your friends and family safe this Halloween!
Keep your friends and family safe this Halloween!

After you make sure your candy is safe to eat, and have thrown away anything suspicious, you may want to consider getting rid of homemade treats as well. If you do not know where something came from you should probably avoid it. While many people are simply being nice by handing out baked goods, there are bad people in the world and it is better to be safe than sorry. Once you have done that, you can relax with friends or put on a Halloween movie while you enjoy your spoils.

Another precaution to take with your the candy to be extra safe is to have it x-rayed at a doctor’s office. Some doctors and dentists offer this service for free during the evening of Halloween or on the day after. If you should find tainted treats contact the police to report them. Hopefully the person who responsible will be caught, and you could protect others from serious consequences.

If you are going to be staying at home to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters, it is best to put away anything that the they could trip on. These things include: garden hoses, toys, lawn decorations, wet leaves, etc. Do not put Jack-O-Lanterns with real candles inside where they could be knocked over to avoid fire hazards. Two good alternatives to consider if you are worried about fire this year are to put glow-sticks, or fake candles inside of your pumpkins instead. Also, make sure your pumpkins stay lit so they are visible to those walking by-to keep them from being tripped over.

Before Halloween make sure that all of your light bulbs are working to keep your house well-lit for trick-or-treaters. Turning on the lights is a sign to all that your house is open for trick-or-treating. However, make sure you are prepared for the vast numbers of trick-or-treaters that will knock on your door by stockpiling candy.

If you have any pets make sure they are put away if you plan to be opening the door a lot. Even if they are generally very docile, they might be frightened and chase or bite a child at the front door. To avoid this, put your pet on a leash, or even in a separate room. Black cats especially are often the victims of cruel jokes, and are safest inside until Halloween is over.

Halloween should be a fun and safe event for all. With these tips you can make sure that everyone enjoys Halloween this year, whether it be while trick-or-treating, handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, or going to a Halloween party. Halloween can be a day full of fun and frights but make sure to take the necessary precautions to keep danger at bay.

-Michael Eckles

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