Stay safe on Halloween night

Published 9:58 am Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween can be a fun time, but it can also be rowdy and full of tricks. Therefore, it is important that Halloween activities, especially trick-or-treating, be approached with a degree of caution. Safety should be at utmost concern.
With Halloween coming up Tuesday, it is a time for scary fun and ghoulish tricks in almost every neighborhood as demons, ghouls, heroes, pirates and costumed kids everywhere take aim at collecting as much “Trick-or-Treat” bounty as possible.
Halloween is big business and maybe not quite the humble affair it used to be. Statistically, Halloween is one of the three most dangerous holidays, along with the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve when it comes to accidental injuries and death.
Locally, much of the candy gathering is done in specific neighborhoods or church-sponsored “trunk or treats,” of which there were plenty listed in the Friday edition of the STAR.
Although times have changed, the spirit remains. Kids love to dress up in costumes, and many parents join in and endorse it. The truth is we all enjoy a few spooky moments and a chance to dress up like our favorite fantasy characters. It’s a creative practice, not an evil endeavor or practice of evil intent.
Some safety practices are never a bad idea when trick-or-treating. Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and stay in groups.
Keep costumes safe. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and choose light colors. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
The Tennessee Department of Safety has offered some safety tips recommended to make the night a little less spooky.
• Drivers should be extremely cautious of trick-or-treaters and others walking along roadways. Enter and exit driveways carefully.
• Discourage inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.
• Trick-or-treaters should not approach homes that aren’t well lit. Front porch lights are a universal sign that trick-or-treaters are welcome.
• Teach children to never enter a stranger’s home.
• Do not let children use electronic devices while walking along roadways.
• When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. Make sure eye holes in masks are large enough so children can see clearly.
• Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, and heaters.
• It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. Be sure to place lit pumpkins far away from anything that can burn and out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
• Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
• Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
Using these safety practices will let your kids enjoy a good time on Halloween.

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