A night filled with ghouls and goblins can mean an evening of fun for kids and parents, if precautions are taken to ensure that the holiday is safe and well supervised.
A successful Halloween starts with early planning, says Capt. Carlos Calvillo, public information officer for the Los Angeles Fire Department. "Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flames. Add reflective tape or a sticker to the costume or the coat that is to be worn at night."
Here are other suggestions for a safer Halloween:
• Face paint is preferable to a mask, because it allows children to see better. However, if a mask is to be worn, cut bigger eyeholes. Be certain that a costume hood or headpiece doesn’t limit head mobility, which also can prevent a child from seeing well.
• Arrange for all but the smallest children to have their own flashlights.
• Trick-or-treat in groups, and with adults accompanying the children. Visit neighborhoods you know, paying careful attention to street safety.
• Let your kids sort their candy shortly after they get home, and remind them that only packaged, store-bought candy should be eaten.
Special advice for dealing with your teens
• Though 12- and 13-year-olds may balk at having an adult along, this is a night when they need you, as older teens may be out causing trouble. As a compromise, you might let younger teens go around your neighborhood by themselves. If they want to go farther, give them a little space but follow them block by block on foot or in the car.
• Talk to your high-school-aged kids about their plans for Halloween. Keep close tabs on whom your teen is with and where they plan to be, and give a specific curfew. A Halloween party at a local movie theatre, a sports center or someone’s home (with parents in attendance) might offer a safe way to pass the holiday.
• Don’t let your teen drive. Halloween is no night for teens to be behind the wheel. Inexperienced drivers and young children darting in and out of the street in the excitement of trick-or-treating are a disaster waiting to happen.
• Let your teen know that no matter where he is, you’ll be available to pick him up at a moment’s notice if there is any sort of problem.