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Halloween at Home and on the Street

Randy DeVaul

Posted on October 27, 2018 08:31

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Halloween can be a night of fun or danger. Communities struggle with how to keep the tradition safe for everyone. A little preparation and planning can keep you and yours safe while enjoying the night.

When my generation sees communities passing laws and ordinances regarding the age a person can or cannot trick-or-treat, we have mixed feelings.

We don’t like to see dangerous pranks and vandalism in communities but we are mind-locked into what Halloween was when we were growing up and find it absurd to place age limits on kids.

We had our issues back in the day. But, at some point, we knew when it was appropriate to stop door-to-door activities. If we did not stop, our peers and neighbors would shame us into not going again the following year.

Whether you live in a community that is trying to maintain control or you line up your kids in the “parade” at the mall, Halloween can be fun if we follow basic life-safety practices.

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 be flame-retardant. Too many children and adults end up in burn units from pranks and ill-suited costumes.

Outdoor decorations are great, but remember children will be running across your yard. If you are visited by extra-terrestrials, monsters, and superheroes, remember these children cannot actually fly unless they are flying over your unseen yard stuff.

Keep decorations lit or in non-pedestrian areas (like front lawns and culverts) to reduce potential lawsuits and prevent injuries. Other items to watch for 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 killed in some neighborhoods or business areas if the weapon looks real.

For the main event, plan your route. Take flashlights and extra batteries. Feed your children prior to going out to reduce the sugar-meal-syndrome when returning with their goodies.

Act responsibly with your pets. Do not put them outside or in a high visibility area. It scares the daylights out of the ‘weeners and can make your pet more aggressive if it is afraid. Keeping your pet indoors reduces 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.

Everyone likes a good scare but let’s keep it safe and fun for adults, children, and pets and provide a positive experience for everyone!

Randy DeVaul

Posted on October 27, 2018 08:31

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