Make trick or treating safe for everyone, OPP urges

The costumes are all made, the pumpkins have been carved into spooky jack-o-lanterns, and the candy bowl is overflowing with tasty treats. Halloween is here and soon little ghosts, goblins, and witches will soon be knocking on your door shouting out those familiar words–Trick or Treat!

Halloween is a fun night for both young and old. It is also a night where parents, children and drivers must keep safety in mind when they are out enjoying the evening. There are a number of things that you can do to keep the little ones safe.

Here are a few ideas:

• Select costumes that are brightly coloured to make your child more visible. The costume should be large enough to fit over a winter coat. It should also allow the child to move easily without tripping on their costume. If possible, use face paints and avoid masks that may restrict a child’s vision.

• Parents should discuss the places where their children will go trick or treating. Set boundaries and also set a time when the kids should be back at home. The oldest child in the group should be expected to keep an eye on the younger ones. Children 9 years of age or under should be accompanied by an adult. Avoid houses/driveways that are poorly lit.

• Children must be reminded about looking both ways before crossing the street and to avoid crossing the street from between parked cars–always cross at intersections. When trick or treating, go down one side of the street and come back on the other.

• Walk-don’t run. Running in a costume may cause you to fall.

• When your children return inspect all of their goodies. Throw out any treats that are not properly wrapped or appear to have been already opened. Fruit treats should be washed and cut into pieces.

Remove face paints as soon as possible to make it easier for both parent and child.

Tips for drivers:

• Give yourself some extra time to get to where you are going. Drive slowly in residential areas where children are out trick or treating. Pay special attention where cars are parked on the side of the street or in poorly lit areas. Slow and steady wins the race.

• Be on the lookout for trick or treaters. Children wearing masks may not be able to see normally. With the excitement of Halloween, children may also forget pedestrian safety rules and dart out into the street.

• Reduce your distractions and stay alert. Keep your cell phone and iPod off–it’s against the law to use them when driving. Turn your music down and keep your attention focused on the road and sidewalks.

• Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully. Excited children may be running on the sidewalk.