Some parents are so spooked by Halloween that they smother their kids with rules that are guaranteed to kill a good time. That’s no good.
But parents need to make decisions that guarantee their kids’ safety.
The Mill Valley Police Department is making your life easier by passing along tips for a safe, fun Halloween. For fire safety tips from the Mill Valley Fire Department, click here.
- Wear a costume that is easy for your child to walk, see and be seen. Make sure costumes don’t drag on the ground and that shoes fit.
- Try to trick-or-treat when there is still light outside – best for younger children.
- Carry a flashlight, so you can see and be seen easily.
- Wear a watch you can read in the dark.
- Walk, don’t run. Try not to cut across yards, driveways or alleys.
- Obey traffic signals and always cross streets at the corner or in a crosswalk.
- Stay on sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, always walk facing traffic.
- Stick to the route you planned with your parents.
- Be cautious of strangers.
- Avoid wearing masks that impair your vision.
- Visit only houses that are lit.
- Accept treats only in the doorway – never go inside a house.
- Be aware of vehicles – look for movement not just sound as some hybrids have little engine noise.
- Wait until you get home to eat, sort, and check your treats.
- Wear a costume that makes it easy to walk, see, and be seen.
- Use makeup instead of a mask. A mask may keep you from seeing well. If you must wear a mask, take it off before crossing the street.
- Ensure that props like fake knives, swords, and toy guns are made from a flexible material to avoid accidental injury.
- Realistic-looking toy guns or other toy weapons should never be used.
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their trick-or-treat rounds.
- Select costumes, masks, wigs, and beards made of flame retardant materials – check the labels.
- Try to purchase costumes with reflective markings and colors, or add reflective tape.
- Because a mask can block eyesight, consider makeup or a hat as a safer alternative.
- Plan a route for older children and make sure at least two buddies accompany your child.
- Discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior – and the consequences of inappropriate behavior.
- Make sure your child has dinner before heading out for the evening
- Make sure your child has a cell phone or change for telephone calls and that the flashlight batteries are fresh.
- Eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway.
- Clear your front yard of flowerpots, low tree limbs, ladders, and garden hoses -- anything that might be hazardous to children rushing from house to house.
- Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets and do not block exit doors.
- Always keep jack o’lanterns and electric lamps away from drapes, decorations and areas where children and pets have access. Battery powered jack o’lanterns are safer than a candle flame.
- Loud, excessive noise can frighten your pet. Consider keeping your pets in a separate room away from Halloween activities.
- Don’t leave your pet in the yard as it might run away, be hurt or stolen or injure a child in its confusion and panic.
- Candy, especially chocolate, is toxic for animals and can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart disturbances, and even death.
- Be careful of pets around a lit pumpkin. Pets may knock it over and cause a fire. Curious cats especially run the risk of getting burned.
- Don’t dress your pets in costume unless you know they love it. Otherwise, it puts a lot of stress on the animals.
- It’s not a good idea to take your pet trick-or-treating. Dogs may become uncontrollable and/or frightened and unexpectedly bite a stranger.
- Halloween is a dangerous time for cats. During the last half of October, black cats are especially prone to become lost, stolen or tortured. The safest cat is always an indoor cat.
- Be slow and careful all evening and look for the unexpected.
- Adult Halloween parties should have a designated driver(s).
Lock your vehicle and put all valuables out of sight in your trunk.
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