Keeping Young Ghouls and Goblins Safe
Children look forward to Halloween all year long, and the days leading up to Oct. 31 can be a frenzy of excitement. Be sure to incorporate safety tips and trick-or-treating smarts into your family’s Halloween planning:

– Look for flame-resistant nylon, polyester fabrics or the “flame resistant” label when purchasing costumes, masks, beards and wigs. Avoid costumes made with flimsy materials, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts to minimize the risk of contact with candles or other fire sources. Choose light-colored costumes, and trim costumes and candy bags with reflective tape for better visibility. Costumes should be roomy enough to accommodate warm, layered clothing underneath, and the proper length so that children will not trip. Have kids wear sturdy shoes to prevent falls. Swords and similar costume accessories should be made of soft, flexible material.

Head and Face Coverings
– Masks can hinder a child’s vision; nontoxic and hypoallergenic face paints or glitter are better. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure it fits securely, with adequate eye and nose holes. Don’t cover kids’ ears with anything that muffles their hearing. Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over their eyes.

Safe Times
– Go trick-or-treating with young children before dark. Older children who plan to trick-or-treat without a grown-up should stick to their own neighborhood and walk in groups. Each child should carry a flashlight. Go over ground rules before children leave; set and enforce a curfew.

Safe Places
– Allow trick-or-treating only at homes of neighbors your children know. Caution children to stop only at well-lit houses and to not go inside anyone’s home. Remain on the porch or front door stoop. Tell children who are trick-or-treating without an adult not to accept rides from strangers or to take short cuts through back yards or alleys.

Street Safety
– Cover only one side of the street at a time; do not crisscross. Children should carry flashlights to see and be seen.

Your House
– Keep your porch or exterior lights on and candlelit jack-o-lanterns clear of doorsteps and landings. Consider lighting jack-o-lanterns with flashlights or light sticks instead of candles. Keep dogs or other pets away from the door so that trick-or-treaters aren’t frightened.

– Children should not eat any treats before bringing them home for inspection. Discard candies with torn or unsealed wrapping, homemade goodies or any edibles not factory-packaged. Report suspicious treats or harmful objects to the local police.
Teach children with food allergies to not eat Halloween candy before you can check the ingredient listing, and to avoid the baked goods brought to school for holiday parties, unless they know all the ingredients.

More Halloween hints and hoots:

You Want to be What for Halloween?!

Sound familiar? Read about one mom’s trials with an indecisive 8-year-old.

Go Healthy on Halloween

Here are a few simple tricks for some healthy treats!

Crawl the Spookier Side of the Web

Check these links for costume ideas, party games, pumpkin patterns and lots more.