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Halloween At Home and on the Street

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10/01/2007 - Celebrating Halloween with costumes, decorations, and trick-or-treating can be a lot of fun for the entire family! There is no doubt that you will see and maybe do things during Halloween that (fortunately) you will not see or do any other time of the year. To ensure it remains fun for everyone, here are some suggestions to keep the celebration safe and healthy.

First, pre-plan for both your house and your kids. Costumes that are bright and reflective will reduce the tire marks from drivers not seeing 'halloweeners.' Use non-toxic, hypoallergenic makeup in place of full-faced masks to prevent vision and breathing problems. Wigs and costumes should also be flame-retardant. Too many children and adults end up in burn units from pranks and ill-suited costumes.

Outdoor decorations can be really cool, but remember you will have children running across your yard. If you plan to be visited by extra-terrestials, goblins, monsters, royalty and superheroes, remember these children cannot actually fly. Unless, of course, they are flying over your yard stuff from not seeing them. Keep your decorations lit or in non-pedestrian areas (such as front lawns and culverts) to reduce potential lawsuits and prevent injuries. Other items you may not think of include flower pots, garden hoses, low tree limbs or roots, and other house and yard items.

Find accessories for costumes that are flexible and soft. Knives, sticks, swords, and guns even play ones can pose life-threatening hazards if your child falls on them or gets him killed in some neighborhoods or business areas if the weapon looks real.

For the main event, have a route or location already established. Many of the malls now offer a safe environment along with costume contests for children, as do other organizations. Make sure you have the right batteries for flashlights. Feed your children a good meal prior to going out to reduce the sugar-meal-syndrome when returning with all of their goodies.

Act responsibly with your pets. Try not to put them outside or in a high visibility area. It not only scares the daylights out of the 'weeners, but can make your pet more aggressive as it believes it is under attack by strange beings. Keeping your pet indoors will also reduce the risk of the pet being attacked or injured by someone.

And finally, the basic list: warn your children about entering people's homes or vehicles; do not let your kids use bicycles, rollerblades, or skateboards; don't let younger children go alone and, if possible, go in 'herds' or groups. That works well for the kids and the homeowners; don't let your children eat anything that is not properly wrapped; only go to homes that have the outside or porch light on.

This is obviously not an all-inclusive list. You can search the internet for "Halloween safety" for more suggestions. Halloween can be fun. Keeping it safe for adults, children, and pets will provide a positive experience for everyone!

Randy DeVaul is an internationally published writer and author. With more than 25 years in safety and emergency response services, he has authored three performance-based safety books and will soon release, Being Safe At Home: Surviving the Hazards of Living in Your Home.

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