2008-10-10 / Columnists

It's My Turn

Halloween Tips and "Tricks"
By Linda De Rose-Droubay Director of Product Safety HearthSong

Halloween is one of the most enjoyable holidays for adults and children alike.

It is also a time for making sure our kids are safe — in their costumes, on the street, and enjoying all the treats collected on their rounds. And let's not forget about making sure Mom and Dad have fun with their children on this spooky night!

The following tips will help ensure your trick-or-treaters enjoy haunting their neighborhoods while gathering their munchings and crunchings!
Pumpkin Carving:
• Never let young children near
carving tools. Non-toxic paint,
stickers, and push — in lights are
safe decorating alternatives. Or let
your child draw the face on the
pumpkin; you do the carving.
• When permitting older children to
carve, always supervise closely.
Work on a flat, tip-proof surface in
a well-lit room.
• Don't let your child use adult
kitchen knives - supply safer, kidsize
tools created specifically for
this purpose.
• Consider using battery operated
candles, tea lights or flashlights to
illuminate your decorative accents
instead of candles.
• Make sure your children understand
they're not to snack on their
treats while they are out trick-ortreating.

• Parents should inspect the goodies

(even commercially
wrapped) for any
signs of tampering,
such as an unusual
appearance, discoloration,
pinholes or
tears in wrappers.
Throw away anything
that looks suspicious.
• For young children, remove
hard candies as they can
become choking hazards; even
larger varieties, which will shrink
as they are mouthed.
• Other choking hazards for
younger children include gum,
nuts, small toys and coins.
• If juice or cider is served to children
at Halloween parties, make
sure it is pasteurized or otherwise
treated to destroy harmful bacteria.
Juice or cider that has not
been treated will state it on the
• When purchasing costumes and
accessories, look for "Flame Resistant"
labels. Although this label
does not mean these items won't
catch fire, it does indicate that the
items will resist burning and
should extinguish quickly once
removed from the ignition source.
• Purchase or make costumes that
are light and bright enough to be
clearly visible to motorists.
• For greater visibility during dusk
and darkness, decorate or trim
costumes with reflective tape that

will glow in the beam of a
car's headlights. Bags or
sacks should also be light
colored or decorated with
reflective tape.
• To easily see and be
seen, children should
also carry flashlights.
• Costumes should be
short enough to prevent
children from
tripping and falling.
Children should wear well-fitting,
sturdy shoes. Exaggerated footwear
can result in slipping or
twisting ankles while walking.
Hats and scarves should be fitted
enough to prevent them from slipping
over children's eyes.
Apply a natural mask of child-safe
cosmetics rather than wearing a
loose-fitting mask that might
restrict breathing or obscure
vision. If a mask is used, however,
make sure it fits securely, has eyeholes
large enough to allow full
vision, and an unobstructed
breathing opening.
Swords, knives, and similar costume
accessories should be of soft
and flexible material.
Pedestrian Safety:
Young children should always be
accompanied by an adult or an
older, responsible child.
Have your trick-or-treater carry
your cell phone.
All children should WALK, not run
from house to house and use the

sidewalk if available, rather than
walk in the street.
• Only cross the street at crosswalks
and always look both ways.
• Children should be cautioned
against running out from between
parked cars, or across lawns and
yards where ornaments, furniture,
or clotheslines present dangers.
• Going out in groups with several
adults in attendance ensures children
will be supervised.
Choosing Safe Houses
and Safety in Your Home:
·• Children should go only to homes
where they know the residents.
• Choose homes which have outside
lights on as a sign of welcome.
• Homes should be well lit inside as
well as out.
• Children should not enter homes
or apartments unless they are
accompanied by an adult.
• If you are expecting trick-or-treaters,
remove anything that could be
an obstacle from lawns, steps and
• Candlelit jack-o'-lanterns should
be kept away from landings and
doorsteps where costumes could
brush against the flame.
• Indoor jack-o'-lanterns should be
kept away from curtains, decorations,
and other furnishings that
could be ignited.
• Consider using battery operated
candles, tea lights or flashlights to
illuminate your decorative accents
instead of candles.

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