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Bill Cirone: Plan Ahead to Keep Trick-or-Treaters Safe

Heed these tips to take the fright out of Halloween night

Parents worry about the safety of their children during Halloween. It helps a great deal to plan ahead, so decisions aren’t made at the last minute.

Bill Cirone
Bill Cirone

The goal for all is that the children who go out trick-or-treating have a safe, enjoyable evening, and the national PTA has some useful advice to help make that happen.

For starters, parents should plan for children to wear well-fitted clothing and shoes. Children should be encouraged to use makeup rather than masks because masks can obstruct vision, especially in the dark.

Children should also carry flashlights with them, and wear light-colored costumes that can easily been seen by cars. Check in advance that flashlights have batteries that work.

Children should be instructed to be selective regarding the homes they visit. It’s best to have at least one adult accompany each group of children. If children are old enough to be out on their own, parents should know the approximate path they plan to take, and all children should have a specific time limit for when they are to return home.

Children should also be wearing flameproof costumes. If you’re not sure whether that’s the case, costumes can be made flameproof by soaking in a solution of two quarts water, seven ounces borax and three ounces boric acid. After soaking, hang to drip dry, then iron.

There are also several “don’ts” for children to heed.

Children should not enter any home, unless it is the home of a friend.

They should not eat any candy before they get home and have it inspected by an adult. Any items that are not wrapped should be pitched. Also, children shouldn’t carry sharp or pointed props, and they should never carry candles as a source of light.

Finally, all adults should remember to take extra precautions when driving on Halloween night because children will be everywhere.

Halloween can be a safe, harmless, enjoyable evening for all who participate if the details are planned in advance and simple precautions are followed.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools.

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