Halloween Safety Check

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Halloween is almost here and the kids are ready to go knock on doors for the annual trick-or-treating. All that fun and excitement can cause the kids to lose sight of usual safety rules, especially when it comes to crossing streets and looking for traffic.

As a mom of a 5-year-old boy, I know that kids move fast, and though you may be keeping up, sometimes they get out of sight in a flash. Though drivers need to be hyper-vigilent when driving in neighborhoods tomorrow night, it’s equally important our kids are watching out for traffic. Reflective tape and/or wearing or carrying a glow stick  helps as well to be sure drivers can see the Minions, Elsas, Thors and Ninjas on making their neighborhood rounds.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department advises parents talk about and do the following before and while kids trick-or-treat to ensure a fun and safe night of ghoulish good times.

1. Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.

2. Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. 

3. Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name; address and phone number inside a pocket in case the child gets separated from the group.

4. Know the names of older children’s companions. Set a time limit. Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.

5. Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger’s home.

6. Feed the kids before they go so they will be less likely to eat the treats before they get home. Warn them not to eat anything before you inspect it.

7. Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules. Walking on sidewalks whenever they are available and crossing at pedestrian crosswalks or intersections. (I’m going to add here, encourage children to WALK not run to every house).

8. Welcome trick-or-treaters with your porch lights and any exterior lights on.

9. Patrol your street occasionally to discourage speeding motorists, acts of malicious mischief and crimes against children. Report any suspicious or criminal activity to your police department immediately; you can dial 9-1-1.

10. Candlelit jack-o-lanterns should be kept clear of doorsteps and landings. Consider using flashlights instead of candles to light jack-o-lanterns.

11. Keep pets away from doors so children will not become frightened.

My personal advice from doing this for a few years with a little kid whose gotten bigger and more jazzed about it each year: 1. Talk to big kids about awareness of the smaller kids. Don’t run them over (I’ll be discussing this with my kid). 2. Say thank you for the candy! Don’t just grab and go. It’s rude. Manners still apply. 3. Stay on sidewalks and walk up walkways, not cutting through the neighbor’s manicured landscape, lest you want to get a talking to the next day or maybe that night that neighbor who might come across more frightening than they neighbor dressed up like Frankenstein.

And when you get home, let them enjoy some treats, then re-stock the family treat jar! If all goes well, you’ll have enough candy to last at least til the holiday cookies start rolling in.