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Trick or treat! For kids, Halloween is exciting and scary - and fun. And for adults, the fun is accompanied by the challenge of keeping children safe, avoiding accidents involving children or adult pedestrians, and promoting home safety. Here are a few tips to help keep Halloween safe.
- If you will be welcoming trick-or-treaters to your home, keep the lights on as a welcome signal. Be sure to remove objects that could pose a tripping hazard from your lawn, walkway, and steps.
- With so many witches, ghosts, vampires and other characters filling the streets, it's important to drive even more defensively than usual - especially around curves, near driveways, and at intersections. Turn on your headlights even if it's still twilight so that you and the trick-or-treaters are more likely to see each other.
- Drive below the speed limit in neighborhoods so that you will have more time to apply your brakes if a child should dart out from between parked cars or a group makes an impulsive decision to race across the street.
- Avoid texting or using cell phones while driving. Though it may be tempting to stay in touch with your child as you follow him or her through a neighborhood, it's important to resist these distractions - as well as eating, drinking, or adjusting your radio or GPS unit.
- Remind your children of basic safety rules: Stay on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, stay to the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic. Don't horse around with your friends. Be careful crossing the street. Don't step out between parked cars.
- Dress your children in bright costumes and add reflective tape or give them glow sticks or flashlights to increase their visibility for passing drivers.
- Consider substituting facial makeup for masks that could obscure a child's breathing or vision. If you do use makeup, check the labeling for government approval and follow instructions for safe application.
- Be sure that a parent - or an older, responsible youth - accompanies pre-teens. Just in case a young child should ge separated from the adults, it's a good idea to pin his or her name, address, and phone number inside a pocket.
- Work with older children to map out a route through familiar neighborhoods. Warn them not to cut through unfamiliar streets, alleys, or even backyards. Give them a cell phone and check in at regular intervals. Establish a curfew.
- Instruct children not to enter homes or apartments unless they're accompanied by an adult.
- Warn children never to get in a car or go anywhere with a stranger. If someone they don't know asks them to help look for a lost child or puppy, have them scream as loudly as they can and run.
- If you take your kids to a Halloween party sponsored by a community group, be sure to keep an eye on them at all times. You don't want to find yourself saying, "But he was only out of my sight for a moment."
- Remind children not to eat candy or treats until you've had a chance to check them - throwing out anything not in its original wrappers or that appears to have been tampered with. Since all that candy will surely be tempting, it's a good idea to have them eat dinner before setting out.
From all of us at Mid-State Insurance, our Halloween message comes down to this: Have a great time and stay safe.