There are a lot of fall and Halloween celebrations occurring. You want to have fun, but you also want to be safe. You can begin with these safety tips.
• Pumpkins — Carve safely! Before you decorate your pumpkins, consider alternatives to carving especially with young children. Paint them, use markers, glitter or glue. Leave the carving to adults.
Use candles with care. Place pumpkins on a sturdy surface away from curtains or other flammable things. Never leave a candlelit pumpkin unattended. A better alternative would be to use a flameless battery candle or glow stick.
Costumes — Chose wisely. Choose bright colors and flame-retardant materials. If you and your children will be out after dark attach reflective tape to the costumes.
Make sure the costumes fit. Have them loose enough for wearing warm clothing underneath if it is cold, but you don’t want the costume too long as your child could trip over it.
Skip the masks as they can obstruct a child’s vision. Use non-toxic makeup instead.
Limit accessories — Wands, swords and knives, even plastic, might pose a safety hazard.
• Trick or treat and even trunk or treat with care — Adults should accompany children younger than 13. Pin a piece of paper with your child’s name, address and phone number inside of the pocket in case you get separated. Encourage older kids to trick or treat with friends or siblings. Make sure everyone has a flashlight.
Set ground rules. If your children will be going without you, plan a familiar route and set a curfew. Stay with a group, walk only on sidewalks, approach only well-lit houses. Adults should inspect treats before the kids eat it. Discard any packaging or candy that has torn packaging or treats that look suspicious.
If you will be driving your children on Halloween, watch for others crossing the streets. Be careful entering or leaving driveways and alleys.
Ration the treats. If your child gets a lot of goodies, consider doling out a few pieces at a time.
Stay safe at home. To prepare for trick or treaters, clean up and put away hazards such as garden hoses, toys and bikes. Clear debris or things from sidewalks.
Turn on lights and yard lights.
Control your pets, taking no chance that the pet might be frightened or chase a child or bite.
Consider other things than sweet treats, such as stickers, pencils or crayons.
Kathy Smith is a Texas A&M AgriLife extension agent in Parker County.