Halloween is a cherished tradition, but the excitement of the night can cause children to get into trouble. The major dangers are not from witches or spirits but rather from not being careful and prepared. There is no real “trick” to making Halloween a real treat for the entire family. Both children and adults need to think about safety on this annual day of make-believe.
We urge motorists to be especially alert on Halloween for children darting out from between parked cars. Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully. At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing
Before children start out on their “trick or treat” rounds, parents should make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older children’s companions. Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lighted and never to enter a stranger’s home.
Establish a time they must be home. Tell your children not to eat any treat until they return home. Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.
Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes. Costumes should be loose so clothes can be worn underneath. Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard. (Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween.)
If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light-colored materials. Strips of retro-reflective tape should be used to make children visible. A mask can obstruct a child’s vision, so use facial makeup instead.
Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects. Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark. Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.
Rules for children
Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision. Walk, do not run, from house to house. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards. Walk on sidewalks, not in the street. Obey traffic lights.
One more thing ...
The Mega Match-a-Thon 24-hour pet adoption event returns to Tropical Park starting at 11:59 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21. This large-scale, nonstop “petstravaganza” will give pet lovers an opportunity to connect, adopt and fall in love with one or more of over 100 shelter animals from Miami-Dade Animal Services.
Adoption fees are 50 percent off for dogs over 4 months old and free for cats and kittens. Adopters can also enjoy round-the-clock entertainment, a farmer's market, food trucks, music and children's activities. Visit www.miamidade.gov/animals for details.
Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to email@example.com, or call her at 305-470-1670.