BY JOE DORMAN
With Halloween approaching, everyone has to be on the watch for ghouls and goblins. That does not mean to be fearful, but to be careful as children are out collecting bags full of treats. Our friends at the American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] put together some great tips, so we wanted to share these with you so your Halloween will be enjoyable and less of a stress.
ALL DRESSED UP
Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
Review with children how to call 9-1-1 [or their local emergency number] if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
HOME SAFE HOME
To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, residents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
Residents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL
A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
Never cut across yards or use alleys.
Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.
Please consider each of these tips as you prepare for the upcoming holiday! From those of us at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, have a happy and safe Halloween!
– Joe Dorman serves as the CEO for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. The mission of OICA is creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.
Editor’s Note: Mark your calendar for Nov. 17 – Joe Dorman and state Rep. George Young Sr. are featured guests at the next Oklahoma Observer Newsmakers Series. The discussion, from 3-4 p.m. at Oklahoma City’s Full Circle Books, will be led by Observer Editor Arnold Hamilton and will focus on the challenges facing Oklahoma children as we head into the holiday season.