Article by TSW JRB Fort Worth Safety Officer
**DISCLAIMER** The below statement has not been reviewed or endorsed, and in no way reflects the opinions of the Naval Safety Center or the U.S. military.
So, it’s that time of the year again. This week, your neighborhood will be overrun with all manner of small children. You will hand out candy, or you’ll spend the whole night chasing them off your lawn. They will knock on your door even if you leave your porch light off. Your dogs will bark all night and you will watch as all that candy you thought you were going to get gets dumped into the bags of those little monsters…and princesses, ghosts, Justin Bieber, Barbie, or whatever it is kids are dressing up as these days.
Or, if you are one of the oh so lucky parents who have children of the proper Trick or Treating age, you will venture out with them for the evening’s door-to-door sugar hoarding. It’s important, as responsible adults, that you ensure a safe, enjoyable evening for your children. Be sure they know the possible dangers.
Be sure the older children know the difference between fun and vandalism. There’s a thin line between “prank” and “felony.” Plus, police hate Halloween. Expect no mercy.
(And if you’re wondering how old is “too old”, it’s easy: Teenagers. Teenagers are too old.)
Some Halloween Hazards to Avoid:
1. Don’t walk in the middle of the road. C’mon. Put the “walk” back in “sidewalk.”
2. Have a flashlight or glow-sticks handy. If your child’s costume is dark, put reflective tape on their candy bag or bucket.
3. Travel in groups. Make sure your child’s group has adequate adult supervision.
4. If YOU are supervising a group of young’uns, bring along some essentials: flashlight with extra batteries and cell-phone, minimum.
5. Be wary of animals, stray or otherwise. Bring along some mace or pepper spray and make sure your children know not to approach strange animals. If you have dogs in your home, keep them away from the door. Even the friendliest pets can become agitated by the unfamiliar noises and strange costumes.
6. Avoid homes that are dark. Only allow your children to harass the home-owners foolish. . .um, generous enough to leave their porch lights on.
7. Don’t let kids eat any candy or treats until they get home and have their take examined by an adult. Discard unwrapped candy or anything that even appears to have been tampered with. While most of these “tampering” candy myths are nothing more than urban legend, it is better to be sure and safe.
8. Remember which houses give out fruit. Give these addresses to your older children.
9. Never cut across yards or use alleys.
10. Never allow your group to enter a stranger’s house or vehicle.
11. Your teenager isn’t Trick or Treating. It’s a school night, keep them in the house.
12. Double check the traffic when crossing. Pedestrian’s may have the right-of-way, but if you believe that motorists obey all the traffic laws, all the time, I have a one-of-a-kind Dan Marino Super Bowl Championship ring I can sell you.
13. If you notice any suspicious activity, CALL THE POLICE. Move your children away from the area and contact the authorities.
14. Carrying a six pack around the neighborhood while you supervise your children’s candy-grab breaks a myriad of laws that include but are not limited to: child endangerment, public intoxication, and open-container.
15. If you are going to be attending an adult’s costume party, drink responsibly. Designate a driver and keep it to a minimum. Your mischievous teenager isn’t the only one who can get arrested on Halloween.