Safety is top priority on Halloween

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Halloween is fast approaching and no doubt, parents have been made abundantly aware of that by the excitement of their children about &uot;trick or treating&uot; to get all that wonderful tooth rotting candy!

It is only a matter of time before neighborhoods are filled with little people hopping and skipping from door to door in search goodies to fill their bags and although the holiday is renowned for being filled with ghosts, goblins and witches, there is no reason why it should be a scary one.

Here are some recommended precautions and safety tips for those participating in the annual &uot;trick or treating&uot; event.

Tips on Costumes

Select costumes that are flame resistant or retardant, brightly colored and reflective, and ensure properly fitting shoes.

Add reflective tape to costumes and/or bags to allow for greater visibility.

Secure loose hats and scarves to prevent them from obscuring the child’s vision.

When choosing a mask, select one with large openings for eyes, nose and mouth or consider using non-toxic hypoallergenic make up instead.

Choose costume props that cannot cause injury.

If the costume calls for a sword or broomstick, select one made from cardboard or other flexible materials.

Tips for Trick-or-Treaters

A parent or other responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.

Older tick-or-treaters should stay in a group and stick to a pre-planed route.

Parents should establish a curfew and be clear about your expectations of their behavior.

Children should only trick-or-treat in familiar neighborhoods, knocking on only doors at well lit houses.

Make it clear that children should only accept treats at the door and NEVER go into a strangers house or vehicle.

Remind children to walk, not run from house to house and stick to sidewalks rather than cutting across yards.

If the neighborhood lacks sidewalks, make sure trick-or-treaters know to walk on the left side of the road facing traffic so they are visible to drivers.

Trick-or-treaters should always carry a flashlight with fresh batteries and know their home phone number and how to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency.

Remember to always be careful of open flames and candles as costumes can be extremely flammable.

Tips on Treats

Check all treats before children eat anything and make it clear that all candy must be brought home for parental inspection before they can eat anything.

To keep kids from munching on candy, make sure they have a good meal before trick-or-treating or send a snack with them.

Tell children not to consume unwrapped food or open drinks they may be offered.

Discard any unwrapped candy or sweets that have an unusual odor, color or texture.

A good rule of thumb…when in doubt, throw it out!

Tips for Homeowners

Eliminate tripping hazards on your porch, walkways and yard before those ghosts and witches come knocking.

Turn on porch lights to let Trick-or-Treaters know they are welcome.

Take necessary precaution with household pets that are not used to strange-looking creatures coming to their door.

Place jack-o-lanterns with lit candles on a stable flat surface out of the reach of children and anything flammable.

The following is a list of trick-or-treating times and age restrictions from your local towns and municipalities. Have a safe holiday!

Ahoskie: Dark to 8 p.m. Age: 12 and under

Murfreesboro: 5-7 p.m. Age: 12 and under

Winton: 5-8 p.m. Age: 12 and under

Como: 5-7 p.m. Age: 12 and under

Cofield: 5-7 p.m. Age: 12 and under

Conway: 5-9 p.m. Age: 12 and under

Garysburg: 5-8 p.m. Age: 12 and under

Gaston: 6-8 p.m. Age: 12 and under

Jackson: 6-9 p.m. Age: 12 and under

Rich Square: 5-7 p.m. Age: 12 and under

Woodland: 5-8 p.m. Age: 12 and under

Seaboard: 6-8 p.m. Age: 12 and under