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Tips for a safe, happy Halloween

Freddy, 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs' jack-o-lantern, dons a reflective belt in preparation for a safe Halloween. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Barry Loo)

Tips for a safe Halloween: Children should dress in bright costumes so others can see them during trick-or-treating. If costumes are dark, children should wear a reflective belt, like the one pictured above, or carry a glow stick or flashlight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Barry Loo)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- There are many ways to keep children safe at Halloween, and common sense can do a lot to prevent a tragedy.

One way parents can help is to pick out or make a safe costume. Make sure that the costume is fireproof. Dress children in bright costumes so others can see them. If their costumes are dark, have children wear a reflective belt or carry a glow stick or flashlight. Costumes should be short enough so that they don't cause children to trip and fall.

Make sure that if children are carrying props that the tips are smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on. Masks should fit securely and allow children to see well and not hinder visibility. If using face paint, make sure it is nontoxic and hypoallergenic.

Children always want to help with the pumpkin carving. Small children shouldn't be allowed to use a sharp knife to cut the top or the face of the pumpkin. There are many kits available that come with tiny saws that work better then knives and are safer. A safer alternative is to let children draw the face on the pumpkin and help clean it. 

Tips for Parents

Parents of trick-or-treaters can get so caught up in the fun that they might forget some simple safety ideas. Below are just a few common sense tips that can help:

- Know the route your kids will be taking if you aren't going with them.
- Know what other activities your child may be attending, such as parties, school or shopping mall functions.
- Make sure you set a time for your child to return home.
- Explain to children the difference between tricks and vandalism. Throwing eggs at a house may seem like fun, but they need to know the consequences.
- Homeowners should prepare their home for trick-or-treaters by removing obstacles from the front yard, restraining dogs and other animals, and lighting the house well.
- If you set jack-o-lanterns on your porch with candles in them, make sure that they are far enough out of the way so that children's costumes don't catch fire. Artificial lights and candles are a safer alternative to real candles.
- Check your kids' candy before they eat it. Throw out any candy that is not in its original wrapper or looks like it has been tampered with.

Following these simple guidelines can ensure a safe and uneventful Halloween.


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