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Little ones can be safe, have fun on Halloween

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Halloween has always been a time to be a little extra careful, but now it’s even more so. The best thing for parents and children would be to seek alternatives to trick-or-treating. Kids can get together at a friend’s house and everyone could share in Halloween treats and games. You may want to have or go to a block party.

But if you can’t tear yourself away from traditional trick-or-treating, here are some tips:

• A parent, older brother or sister should accompany children. If that is not possible, children should trick-or-treat in pairs or with a group.

• Trick-or-treaters should never to go neighborhoods they’re not familiar with. The best thing is to go to local stores — the merchants are usually more than happy to give treats to the little monsters.

• Children should trick-or-treat while it is still light outside. It’s not only safer, but also, this year it’s a school night and kids shouldn’t be out too late.

• They should wear costumes that make it easy to walk, to see, and be seen. Be sure that the costume is fire resistant, has ample ventilation and is short enough to avoid tripping. It should be large enough to fit over warm clothing if necessary. It should be light-colored with reflective tape.

• Remember - Warn your children never to enter a stranger’s house or car, even if invited. And you should not invite any children you don’t know into your house.

* Plan the trick-or-treat route ahead of time and make sure the family knows which streets they will be on. Set a specific time to be home, and stress that they must keep to it.

• Try to use makeup rather than a mask. If the little demons do wear a mask, make sure there’s ample visibility. The kids should take them off before crossing the street. And, they should cross only at corners, never between parked cars or in the middle of the block. They should walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, they should stay as far to the left of the roadway as possible and walk FACING traffic. They should walk on well-lit streets and remain in their own neighborhood.

• This is particularly important — especially in the current times: Make sure the kids don’t eat any of the treats until they get home. Throw away any candy or food that is not commercially wrapped, and make sure the wrapper has not been opened or damaged.

Gloria Berger is an early-childhood teacher.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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