For those that don’t know me, I’m an author but I’m also a Police Officer. For many years I have patrolled the streets on Halloween to watch over children as they run from house to house laughing and screaming “Trick or Treat”. I’ve helped lost children find their parents and I’ve put them in back of ambulances because some things have happened that caused them to get injured. I’d like to hope that by using these tips I’m going to share, you all can avoid having to call 911 while your kids are having a fun evening!
Supervise your child: Halloween is designed for younger kids and many states and municipalities have an age restriction of 12 years and younger. It is important that a responsible adult accompany the children. Don’t send your young teenager out to watch over them, good chance they will be more interested in texting to friends then actually watching what the younger ones are doing.
Don’t allow children to enter a home: Make sure your kids know that they should NEVER enter the home of a person they don’t know. Tell them to always stay on the porch and wait, or turn and walk away.
Keep children away from cars that have drivers inside: In some neighborhoods, you will see a car following groups of kids. Make sure that your kids avoid any car where a driver is behind the wheel and watching all the children.
WALK!: Make sure you explain to kids that you know they are excited, but there will be plenty of time to fill up their bags and make sure they walk – NOT RUN. Normally trick or treating is done at night and you are visiting homes you are not familiar with. The chances of running and tripping over something are very likely. Keep them on sidewalks and driveways and don’t let them cross from lawn to lawn where hidden objects or holes can be present.
911 – If you lose your child – call 911 immediately. Make sure that somewhere on your child (a good place is a piece of tape on the inside of a costume or on the bottom of the candy bag) that has your cell phone number. Tell kids that if they get lost – find another parent on the street WITH KIDS and ask them to call you. I know in my years I have reunited many a child with scared parents because the kid got caught up in a group and they lost track of them.
Costumes should be fun – but make sure they are safe!
Dark Costumes: If your child is wearing a dark costume, put some reflective tape on their back. They won’t even know it is there – but you will and so will drivers!
Long Costumes: Make sure your child can see his or her feet when they are standing up straight. If the costume is too long, they might trip on it. It’s not like in the old days where young ladies are used to walking with long dresses on.
Masks: Your child might want to wear a mask, but they are very hard to see out of. Many mask cut off the peripheral vision where threats can be. It is better to use makeup.
Wash Up: Make sure that kids wash their hands really well after trick or treating and before having candy. Also, it is a good idea to get that makeup off their face pretty quickly too. Some kids can have a pretty bag reaction to makeup after it stays on for a few hours.
WATCH OUT FOR CANDLES: Make sure that kids avoid candles along the walkways or inside the pumpkins. Costumes are not treated like some clothing and many of them will burn quickly.
Candy – THE BEST PART!!!
Check it: Make sure that you check the candy before you allow your child to eat it. Throw out any candy where the packing is not intact. Gently squeeze small bags (like M & M bag) to make sure the air is sealed inside and there are not small pin holes in the packaging. Do not allow children to eat unwrapped or homemade wrapped candy unless you know and trust the people who gave it to you.
Small: Make sure you check for choking hazards for small children. Lifesaver candies can very easy block and airway of a 4 or 5 year old child. I’ve seen it and rescued an unconscious child from this.
Pets – don’t forget about them
Bringing pets them with you: You might think that this is the best time to take your little pooch out for a walk, but I would suggest against it. Most dogs can get overly excited when kids are running around and yelling. It is not unheard of for a dog to break lose off a leash and take off. Then you have to worry about the kids and the dog! FACT: More dogs bit people on Halloween and Fourth of July than any other day of the year.
Pets do NOT like costumes: Despite what your pet might act like around you, you do not know how your pet will act around other children in costume. Many pets are scared of masks, capes and makeup.
At home: Put your pet in a safe area away from the door you are using to hand out candy. If your pet is crate trained, that is a great place. Yes, they may bark a lot, but it will lessen the anxiety they will feel at seeing all the kids coming and going.
Above all, use common sense and have fun! Who doesn’t have great memories of trick or treating when they were younger?
Thank you again Tia for allowing me to pop over and visit and share some safety tips with your readers!
About This Blogger/Author
Stacy Eaton is a full time Police Officer and investigator in Southeast Pennsylvania. She is also the author of the international bestselling series, My Blood Runs Blue and the best-seller Whether I’ll Live or Die. You can find out more about her on her website: www.stacyeaton.com