A couple of universities are offering safety tips for Halloween. A lot of it is common sense, but a little refresher course never hurt, especially if you're so enthusiastic that your excitement might overwhelm your better judgement.
The University of Maryland provides two lists of quick tips:
For Trick or Treaters:
- Carry a flashlight.
- Stay on sidewalks.
- Obey traffic signals.
- Wear a watch you can read in the dark.
- Make sure costumes don't drag on the ground.
- Shoes should fit.
- Avoid wearing masks that block sight.
- Wear clothing with reflective markings.
- Approach houses that are lit.
- Stay away from and don't pet animals you don't know.
- Make sure your child eats dinner before setting out.
- Ideally young children should be accompanied by an adult.
- If you buy a costume look for one that is flame retardant.
- You should know where older children will be going.
- Be sure children bring candy home before eating to be sure that it is safe to eat.
The Binghamton University in New York (via Newswise) goes into a little more depth, suggesting not only the obvious (that parents choose costumes with good vision and mobility) but also more subtle clues (provide a deadline for dress-up decisions so that no last-minute changes cause problems with vision and mobility). A quick summary:
- Use flickering lights instead of real flames.
- Avoid realistic looking prop weapons
- Avoid controversial costumes (Huh?)
- Trick or treat during daylight hours, or make sure your costume is reflective at night.
- Plan your route.
- Accompany young children or make sure older children go in groups.
- Carry a flashlight and a cell phone.
Binghamton also provides suggestion for making your home turf safe for visiting trick-or-treaters:
- Offer healthful alternative treats like popcorn instead of candy.
- Turn on outdoor lights and keep walkways clear of safety hazards.
- Keep pets away from the front door.