Hold on, man! We don’t go anywhere with “scary,” “spooky,”
“haunted,” or “forbidden” in the title! ~Shaggy
From Scooby Doo
With Halloween right around the corner, the mad rush to find a unique costume
is about to commence. Be sure to get yours before the choices get lean
and all that’s left are the throwback characters like Raggedy Ann
or Mork and Mindy (Nanu. Nanu). As a kid, I was never really one to spend
time strategizing a costume. I spent fifteen minutes digging around in
my dad’s closet for his yard clothes, smudged mascara on my face
like dirt and put a pillowcase on a stick. Voila! Instant Hobo! These
days, I leave the dressing up to my kids. I’ve never been one of
those parents that dress up as a theme with their kids as a cadre of Super
Heroes or pack of Zombies. I did, once, tell my wife we could all be Stars
Wars characters, and she could dress up as Princess Leia. But she just
rolled her eyes.
When you are planning your Halloween parties and neighborhood trick-or-treating,
don’t lose sight of the fact that all this ghoulish frivolity typically
occurs between 5-9:30 p.m., so kids are wearing costumes that impair their
vision while simultaneously darting across the road from one house to
another. To ensure a safe holiday for all this upcoming Halloween, here
are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
- Small children should never carve a pumpkin. Instead, let them draw out
the face or design on the pumpkin. Parents can do the cutting.
- Consider using a glow stick or flashlight instead of a candle. If a candle
is being used, votive candles are the safest.
- Always place pumpkins on a sturdy surface away from flammable objects,
like curtains. Make sure they are away from the path where visitors may pass by.
- To keep homes safe for trick-or-treaters, remove objects that children
may trip over from the porch or front yards.
- Leaves and debris should be swept off paths.
- Check outdoor lights and replace if necessary.
Dressed up and Ready to Scare
- Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure they are short
enough to prevent tripping or entanglement.
- Consider adding reflective tape to costumes or trick-or-treat bags.
- Masks can considerably limit or block eyesight. Consider using non-toxic
makeup on the face along with hats and wigs. Make sure hats fit properly
and do not slide over the eyes.
- If a sword, cane or stick is part of your child’s costume, make sure
that it is not sharp or long to prevent injury to others or the child
if they fall.
On the Trick-or-Treat trail
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on
their neighborhood rounds.
- All children and escorts should have flashlights.
- If older children are going alone, plan and review a route that is acceptable.
Agree on a specific time and place for them to return.
- Only go to homes with a porch light on, and NEVER enter a home or car for a treat.
Preventing pedestrian injuries
- Remember reflective tape.
- Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
- Remain on well lit streets, and stay on sidewalks as much as possible.
- Never cut across yards or alleys.
- Cross the street as a group. Never cross between parked cars.
- Don’t assume that as a pedestrian you have the right of way. Motorists
may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops
doesn’t mean everyone will.
- Park your car or golf cart, and walk. Motorized vehicles and pedestrians
darting in and out of traffic are a bad mix. The fewer vehicles on the
street, including your own, the reduced likelihood of pedestrian injury.
Healthy Halloween: Look at all this loot!
- Though tampering is rare, an adult should closely examine all treats and
throw away any unwrapped, spoiled or suspicious items.
- Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.
Now, I can’t promise that any of these tips will lead to the accumulation
of more Halloween loot. I would continue to bypass the dentist’s
house on the corner who continues to give the kids Trident (no, that is
not candy.) Hopefully these tips will lead to a safer trick-or-treating
experience. Save me a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. All I get are a
bunch of rocks.