• 34°

Safety tips for trick-or-treating

By David Davis

Next Tuesday, Oct. 31, the ghouls, goblins, fairies, superhero look-a-likes and much more will be out in force as part of the annual Halloween celebration.

Sounds of “Trick or Treat” will fill the air as children from all over the community will be asking for sweet treats. Many in my family would often joke this is the holiday that brings extra business to every dentist because of all the sugar that will be consumed following Halloween.

If you do take children trick or treating please remember these few safety tips.

Parents or adults should always accompany children during trick or treating. Trick or treat in well-lit areas, and only visit neighborhoods where you know the homeowners. Other options are to visit churches, businesses or civic organizations that are participating.

Consider bring your child to Halloween MAIN-ia in downtown Winchester. All are welcome to the free and family friendly event that will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31. Main Street will be closed to traffic from Lexington Avenue to Washington Street for the evening.

Consider your child’s costume. Make sure that the costume is not a tripping hazard. It might be better to avoid masks by using face paint instead.

If masks are worn make sure they fit securely so that they do not obstruct your child’s vision, they are not distracting or burdensome for your child to wear.

Make sure that the shoes that go with your child’s costume are comfortable and fit well. Loose-fitting adult shoes such as adult high heels or work boots may not be safe.

To reduce the risk of burns, always choose costumes that are made of flame resistant materials.

Make sure children are visible to moving traffic if approached from the front or from behind. This is especially important for children participating in Halloween or fall festival activities after dark. Glow sticks, vests, reflective tape or other glow-in-the-dark accessories may be helpful to increase visibility. Give children flashlights to make sure they see clearly and to increase their visibility to others.

Props such as swords, staffs and wands should be made of pliable, safe materials so they are not a risk to your child in the event of a fall or to other nearby children during play.

Discuss safety rules while around traffic with your child such as not darting between parked cars, always looking both ways for traffic before crossing streets, driveways or alleys, and to always walk facing traffic where there aren’t sidewalks.

Instruct your children to always use the sidewalk or walkways to homes when possible instead of cutting through yards to avoid potential unseen hazards.

Inspect candy before allowing your child to consume it. Make sure there aren’t any holes or torn packaging. Make sure that the candy has not been altered in any way.

Never allow children to consume homemade treats. This may seem harmless, but if your child has food allergies, you will not know the ingredients. You also will not know if proper food safety practices were followed as these treats were prepared.

David Davis is the Clark County Cooperative Extension Service Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources.