How To Trick-or-Treat Safely

Okay, so we've all heard about the children finding the candy with the razors in it.  While that's probably an urban legend, it's no secret that in this day and age lots of crimes are committed which don't seem to make much sense.  Keeping a very watchful eye on our children is critical, especially during Halloween.  So in light of this, here are a few simple steps that you can follow to be sure that your children remain safe at all times in the upcoming Halloween season. 

The first step is simple.  Don't let your children trick-or-treat alone. Get together with some neighbors or family members, and make sure that at least one adult is with the group at all times. If you have at least a couple of 10 year olds (or above) in the group, the adults can hang back a bit - but there should always be adult supervision, especially if trick-or-treating in your community happens after dark.

Second, never assume that your child is responsible.  Now this can seem just a bit harsh, but it's a good motto to live by. If you have your 13 year old son taking your 7 year old daughter out on a great night of trick-or-treating, he may be responsible enough to keep her out of the street, but he may not be careful enough to notice when she is sneaking candy out of the treat bag when he's not looking - and you shouldn't expect him to be this watchful.  Again, this is why adult supervision is necessary.  Even the most well-behaved, best-intentioned child is still a child, and as every parent knows it only takes a momentary slip for something to happen.  A better option is to have an adult present - but again, hanging back a bit - who can keep an eye on both children, and can approve a piece of candy or a choice of house to visit at a moment's notice.

Another important safety tip is to be sure that all candy is brought home before it's eaten.  Now this is one of tough situations that may frighten a child; however, this isn't the intention.  Let them know in the least frightening of ways why this is necessary, but also make it non-negotiable.  If you think your child will simply be too tempted and will be begging you or the adult in charge for candy the entire time, it is a good idea to have a pocketful of candy that you know is safe, which you can hand out at every tenth house or so.  This will give the kids a candy fix and will keep them from looking into their bags.

Also never accept fruit.  In many situations fruit will get tossed into bags and will be mixed in with the chocolate and other sweets.  While offering a healthy snack is a very caring gesture, in this case it's not safe.  You can never be sure where that ripe apple has been, or what it has been exposed to.  Thus, the safest thing to do is to just toss it into the trash.

It is also crucial to throw away all candy that has been opened.  Opened candy, much like fresh fruit, may be tainted.  You can never be sure where it has been.  So don't even waste time inspecting it, just throw it away.

Costumes that mainly consist of light-colored fabric are safer at night than those which are made of dark fabrics.  If your child's costume is made of dark or black fabric, purchase some reflective tape and put a strip or two on the back of your child's costume, and at least one strip on the front and on each side.  This will make it easier for drivers to see your child if they are trick-or-treating when it's dark outside. 

If you follow these steps, your children will be safe during trick-or-treating.  


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