With parties, festivals and lots of candy to keep trick-or-treaters occupied, this weekend is sure to be a busy time for families.
But before children venture out, make sure to review these safety tips from the Columbia Police Department:
- Choose costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure shoes fit children well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
- Consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
- Secure emergency identification such as name, address and phone number discreetly to Halloween attire or a bracelet.
- When shopping for costumes, wigs or accessories, buy only those labeled as flame-resistant and stay away from masks that can limit or block eyesight. Consider a decorative hat as a safe alternative.
- Think twice before allowing simulated knives, guns or swords as part of a costume. If such props must be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury.
- Provide flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
- Teach children their home phone number and to how call 911 (or their local emergency number).
- Openly discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior at Halloween time.
A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. Also, remind all trick-or-treaters to:
- Use a flashlight so they can see and be seen.
- Trick-or-treat only in well-known neighborhoods at homes that have porch lights on.
- Remain on well-lit streets and use sidewalks.
- Never enter a stranger's home or car for a treat.
- Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations and always walk. Never run across a street.
- Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks.
- Remove any mask or item that will limit vision before crossing a street, driveway or alley.
- Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will.
- Never consume unwrapped food items or open beverages that are offered.
- Have children wait until they are home before consuming treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
- Make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies), are given only to those of an appropriate age.
For additional safety tips or fun Halloween alternatives visit www.columbiasc.net/calendar.
- Mindy Lucas