Halloween is a great treat for youngsters and the young at heart.
Costume parties, pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating are time-honored traditions for this festive autumn event.
The Dickinson-Iron County area has been lucky. We've experienced no major accidents, severe acts of vandalism, abductions or missing children.
Our good fortune cannot be attributed on luck alone. A careful, conscientious community must be congratulated.
Because we've had no misfortunes doesn't mean it can't happen here.
And that's the scariest part of Halloween.
However, trick-or-treaters, motorists and treat-givers can make this Halloween a safe one if they follow some common sense safety rules.
Here are a few tips from safety experts:
- Have an adult accompany children on their treat-gathering route. Avoid unfamiliar neighborhoods or homes of strangers. Stop only at houses or apartments that are well lit.
- Tell children to accept only manufacturer-wrapped treats and not to sample anything until they return home so you can inspect teats for possible tampering.
- Parents should be looking for signs of tampering such as discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
- Carry a flashlight so you can see and be seen.
- Tell children to politely decline any invitations to enter a home or apartment. Similarly, don't encourage children you don't know to enter your home.
- Affix name, address and phone number to the inside sleeve of young children's costumes in case they get lost. Instruct them to call if there is a problem.
- Older children without adult chaperones should always travel in groups and never alone. Have them select a route ahead of time, and designate a time they'll return home. Pick streets that are well lit.
- Natural masks of make-up are preferable to plastic or rubber ones that may restrict breathing or obstruct peripheral vision.
- Purchase only costumes, masks, beards and wigs labeled "flame resistant."
-Make sure toys received by young trick-or-treaters are not small enough - and do not have components small enough - to present a choking hazard.
- Keep candles, jack-o'-lanterns and obstacles away from trick-or-treaters.
-Make sure lights have been tested for safety, discard damaged sets and don't overload extension cords.
- All trick-or-treating should be done during the official time established by community leaders. It's best to trick-or treat during daylight hours.
- Encourage your children to attend community or home Halloween parties in place of traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating if you worry about tainted treats.
- See that costumes are short enough so youngsters don't trip. Bright colors and reflectorized costumes are more visible.
- Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be made of soft, flexible material. Avoid toy weapons that could be mistake for the real thing.
- Instruct children to walk, not run, from house to house. They should walk on sidewalks, not streets, and cross at intersections or crosswalks. Teach them not to dart out between parked cars.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
- Motorists traveling during trick-or-treat hours must slow down. This is imperative in a community that disobeys posted speed limits as a matter of routine.
- Be extra alert to children crossing the street between parked cars or in the middle of the block.
- Use your headlights. Even in the daylight, lights will make you more visible.
- Arrive home a little earlier on Halloween. Make sure you have all treats ready. Doing so will avoid that last minute rush to the store.
- If you have been designated as the driver for Halloween trick-or-treaters, establish the rules of the road before departing. That is, make sure they buckle their seat belts, avoid unnecessary chatter so the driver can concentrate, and be sure no one opens the mini-van door until the vehicle is completely stopped.