Trick or treat with care

Before your children start trick-or-treating, review these basic Halloween safety rules:

  • Get in on the fun. Accompany trick-or-treaters younger than age 12. Pin a piece of paper with your child's name, address and phone number inside your child's pocket in case you get separated. Encourage older kids to trick or treat with a group of friends, parents or older siblings. Make sure someone in the group has a flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • Set ground rules. If your child will be trick-or-treating without you, plan and discuss a familiar route and set a curfew. Review safety rules, including staying with the group, walking only on the sidewalk, approaching only clearly lit homes and never going inside a home or car for a treat. Have your child carry a cellphone for the evening so he or she can contact you.
  • Inspect the treats carefully. Don't let your child snack while he or she is trick-or-treating. Feed your child an early meal before heading out, and inspect the treats before allowing your child to dive in. Discard anything that's not sealed, has torn packaging or looks questionable. If you have young children, weed out gum, peanuts, hard candies and other choking hazards.
  • Ration the loot. If your child collects gobs of goodies, dole out a few pieces at a time and save the rest. You might even ask your child if he or she would like to swap some — or all — of the candy for something else, such as a special toy, book or outing. You might also suggest donating excess candy to a food shelf or other charity.
  • Plan a party. Consider planning a trick or treat party with a couple of neighbors instead of house-to-house door knocking. Decorate the garages, have a costume contest, and plan games and prizes.

Stay safe and sweet on the home front

Planning to hand out treats? To make sure you're ready for trick-or-treaters, follow these tips:

  • Clean up. Put away anything trick-or-treaters could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. Clear wet leaves, snow or other debris from the sidewalk.
  • Turn the lights on. Replace any burned-out bulbs to ensure good visibility at the walkway and front door.
  • Control your pets. Take no chances that your pet might be frightened and chase or bite a child at your door.
  • Consider sugar substitutes. Instead of handing out sugar-laden treats, try stickers, fun pencils, rubber insects or colored chalk.

If you'll be driving on Halloween, watch for children who might pop out between parked cars. Be especially careful entering or leaving driveways and alleys. Extra caution can help ensure Halloween safety for everyone.

Feb. 01, 2014 See more In-depth