DANGER LURKS FOR children and adults who join in the upcoming Halloween high-jinks: costume parties, parades and treat-collecting excursions.
Fortunately, most risks – while they might loom large in your mind – usually aren't so monstrous in real life and easily can be minimized by using some common sense, according to those who preach public safety this time of year.
Among the precautions:
Traffic. By far, getting struck by a car or truck remains the most real danger for October's holiday revelers. Drivers, be wary and go lightly on the gas pedal.
Walkers, stick to sidewalks wherever possible and, when crossing streets, do so at intersections.
Parents, equip your kids with flashlights, glow sticks and/or clothing with reflective tape. Give them ground rules, too: Travel in groups, no darting across the road, look both ways before crossing a street and don't take shortcuts across lawns where hazards – garden hoses, clotheslines – could play cruel tricks.
Treats. Before snacking, inspect the contents of the goodie bag; toss out anything that seems suspicious. Eat only factory-wrapped treats. For very young children, beware choking hazards such as hard candies, peanuts and gum. Don't gorge.
Costumes. Skip the decorative contact lenses. Sample makeup on a small area, in case it causes irritation. Choose disguises and masks that fit well, lessening the chance of blocked vision and falls. Face paint provides a good alternative to masks. Consider flame-retardant costumes and avoid walking near lit candles. Choose accessories – shepherd's hooks, swords, etc. – that are soft and flexible.
Finally, as a safeguard against things that go bump in the night and other strange happenings, carry a device to ward off trouble: a cellphone.
Take the worry out of your Halloween by following the guidelines on these government websites.
• General safety, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/
• Treat/food safety, U.S. Food and Drug Administration: www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm187021.htm
• Costume safety, Consumer Product Safety Commission: www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/100.pdf