by Beth Burnett
KJRH-TV Tulsa, Oklahoma
Halloween just around the spooky corner, and our favorite little princesses, superheros, and monsters are ready for their yearly candy collecting.
Parents, experts say now is the time to plan for a fun and safe Halloween. We've put together 16 Halloween safety tips to help keep Halloween fun and spooky and safe for you and your children. We'll survey safety advice for costumes, trick-or-treating and candy safety.
The first part of getting ready for Halloween is picking out a safe costume:
1. Make sure the costumes are flame retardant so the little ones aren't in danger near burning jack-o-lanterns and other fire hazards.
2. Keep costumes short to prevent trips, falls, and other bumps in the night.
3. Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks can not only be hot and uncomfortable, but they can obstruct a child's vision. They need to be able to see clearly while walking up and down steps, and while crossing the street.
4. Make sure children wear light or neon colors. Adding reflective tape to any costume will help drivers see them as well.
As for Trick-or-treating itself, there are some ways to plan ahead to make sure everyone's safe. Experts say familiar location is key. Click CONTINUE for more safety advice.
Experts say when it comes to trick-or-treating, it's all about location, location, location!
5. Trick-or-treaters should be in groups so they aren't a tempting target for real-life bad guys. It's always a good idea that adults go along with children, especially young ones. Make sure older kids trick or treat with friends, rather than alone.
6. Create a map of a safe route that kids of all ages are familiar with. If you aren't going along with the group, make copies of the map for each person, including the adults who are.
7. Have your kids to trick-or-treat while it's still light outside. If it's dark, make sure each child has a flashlight or glow stick, and pick well-lit streets.
8. Tell your children not to enter any homes in which they do not know the occupants. Parents should walk younger children to the door of each house.
9. Remind children not to approach a stranger's car, much less get in one.
10. TEACH children to say "NO!" or "this is not my mother/father" in a loud voice if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat, or leave with them. Teach them that they should make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming and resisting.
11. Tell your children to stop only at familiar houses where the lights are on.
12. Discuss with your kids some basic road and pedestrian safety rules.
13. Make sure your older children know your home phone number, in case they get lost or separated.
Safe costume, check! Safe trick-or-treating, check! Now what about the treats themselves? Click CONTINUE for ways to stay safe after you get home with all the candy.
You got the treats, but before you eat, follow these safety-first rules.
13. Kids, don't open your candy as you go about your trick-or-treating. Save it all for when you return home. Parents should look over the candy and treats, or even have them x-rayed. Parents, one way to keep them from testing the treats too soon is to feed them a meal or snack before they hit the streets.
14. Check out all the treats in a well-lit place.
15. Look for wrappers that have been tampered with, and toss any candy not in a wrapper.
16. Double-check any fruit or home made treats, and encourage your children to indulge sparingly. A ghoulish stomachache could follow if too many treats are tasted at one time!
Thanks to Tulsa (Okla.) Crime Commission Executive Director Carol Bush and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
for their help in generating these tips.
Have a fun and safe Halloween!
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.