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Halloween Trick or Treating Can Still Be Safe and Fun

I just picked up a couple of tickets for a special Halloween event in my community. I still get a kick out of all the traditional goings on at this time of year.

I have fond memories of lining up with my cousins while my aunt sat at the sewing machine taking our costume orders. She would whip up a 'princess dress' or a 'cowboy shirt' and in no time we were rushing from door to door immersed in the magical world of trick or treat.

We have learned a few things since those days of naïve abandon. Halloween is still a good thing but a little caution is in order.

For one thing, it is absolutely imperative that young children be accompanied by an adult. There are just too many ways for a child to fall into harm's way if he or she is not properly supervised.

Little children lose confidence in the dark and they need to feel supported and safe in the care of an adult, not another child.

Typically on Halloween night there is a lot of activity and a brother or sister only a couple of years older is not a good choice to accompany a smaller child. Let the older siblings (early teens and up) follow their own crowd for the evening.

Parents, take your 12-and-under kids with you and get into the spirit of the celebration. Your kids will remember it for the rest of their lives.

Check the length of costumes and make sure that your child can walk safely. A mask can cause low visibility so adjust the eye holes for better vision.

Help your children choose costumes that are comfortable and warm. I've opened the door to many shivering ballerinas on a frosty Oct. 31 eve.

Be aware of the costume accessories. Some of those fake swords and knives can represent a danger when excited children are in the midst of trick or treating.

Older children need a curfew for Halloween. You can choose a time that works for your family and the ages of your children but a time limit is very important.

Halloween can be a blast for all ages and keeping track of your older children on this night is just as important as keeping the little ones safe.

Most kids want to eat their treats as soon as possible. All donations need to be thoroughly checked before eating, so set up the "do not eat" rule before you leave the house.

Start talking about this well in advance with the younger children so that they know the rule and feel comfortable with it. It is best to be casual about it, letting them know that this is a precaution that keeps everyone safe and that it is standard practice to check food before eating when you don't know the source. This is good general advice that the kids can understand.

Most of all, have a wonderful All Hallows Eve and stay safe.