Halloween safety tips

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.

TheĀ 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.

For Parents:

  • 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.