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No Tricks, Only Treats

Welcome to autumn! This season always brings fourth feelings of excitement and anticipation of lots of festivity with friends and family that begins with Halloween.

Halloween is a great time for both young and old to explore old traditions and create new ones. History indicates Halloween began as a Celtic tradition where people believed that the end of October and beginning of November was the time frame in which the deceased would pass to the afterlife and the harvest was about to face the stress of winter. Dressing in costume and dancing around bonfires to ward off the unwanted spirits and preparing their harvest for winter amidst celebrations was what the Celtic people called Samhain which later transitioned into the holiday we all know and love - Halloween.

While we all love to celebrate and have a good time, we must remember to put the safety of our children first. As one of the most popular holidays for children to enjoy, there are some crucial tips to remember to ensure your child has a safe and happy Halloween experience. Let's start with costume tips:

  • Choose your child's costume wisely by looking for a label that indicates flame-resistance on any costumes, wigs, and headpieces you purchase. If you're making the costume yourself, examine the fabric content and talk the salesperson to help you choose the least flammable material.

  • Hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint is a better choice than a mask, which may obscure your child's vision and hinder breathing ability.

  • Be sure to avoid oversized costumes and shoes that can trip your child.

  • Select light or bright colored costumes when possible. This makes it easier for drivers to spot trick-or-treaters. For costumes that have to be dark, attach reflective tape to the costume for visibility. A few strips on the back, front, and goodie bag should do the trick.

  • Ensure your child's emergency information (name, number, and address) are somewhere on his clothes or on a bracelet if you're not going to be with him/her.

  • Choose accessories that are smooth and flexible. Look for swords, knives, and other accessories that don't look too realistic or have sharp ends or points.

And now the usual candy and treat tips because we can never say this enough!

Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Yes, some will want to begin immediately so please be sure they are aware that waiting is part of the process.

  • The signs of candy that has been tampered with or could be dangerous are as follows: An unusual appearance or discoloration Tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers Spoiled or unwrapped items Homemade items or baked goods should be discarded unless you personally know who gave them.

  • Tell children not to accept -- and, especially, not to eat--anything that isn't commercially wrapped.

  • Parents of young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies and small toys.

  • Remember, when it doubt THROW IT OUT! (If you have questions about possibly tainted candy you can also contact the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 or your local police department for assistance.

While Trick-or-treating, remember the following:

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.

  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.

  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.

  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.

  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:

  • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.

  • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.

  • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.

  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.

  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.

  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.

  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.

  • Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!

If you are out and about on the night these little gremlins are trick-or-treating, please remember to be extra cautious while driving and keep your eyes peeled for children darting out from between vehicles or in odd places that aren't crosswalks.

If you decide to stay in and offer treats to children, be sure the path to your doorway is well lit and clear of any trip hazards. Also, if you have pets, be sure they are secured in a safe place to avoid escape during this active time which may be stressful to them.

And, lastly, if you wish to enjoy some adult Halloween Festivities be sure that you too are dressed appropriately if you are walking in dark areas. If you are driving to Halloween festivities, be sure to avoid alcohol or make arrangements for a designated driver instead.

It looks like my favorite time of year has came so quickly and we are soon saying goodbye to 2017. I hope you have enjoyed my blog this year and will continue to follow me in the coming months with lots of holiday tips, fun ideas and safety suggestions for the season and into the New Year.

Thank you, Susan

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