Halloween at my house is a time of great anticipation and excitement. The excitement mounts as my family plans and creates our costumes, decorates our home, chooses the goodies we’ll hand out, and plans our trick or treating strategy. Both children and adults are anxious to see all the adorable, silly and scary costumes, as well as the great home and yard decorations. And while this is an enjoyable time, we cannot forget to remind our children of some simple safety tips to ensure our family’s safety as we enjoy this booootiful holiday.
* Accompany your children as they go from house to house. If you can’t take them, see if another parent or a teen-aged sibling can go along. Know the route your kids will be taking if you are not going with them.
* Know what other activities older children may be attending, such as parties and school or mall functions. Make sure you set a time that they should be home by, and that the children know how important it is for them to be home on time.
* Remind your children of the safety rules they should follow everyday: don’t speak to strangers and never get into or even near a stranger’s car, look both ways before crossing streets, use crosswalks and obey traffic lights.
* Make sure that your child’s costume is safe. When making or choosing a costume a good rule to follow is to make sure the child can see and be seen. If the costume has a mask check to make sure that mouth and eyeholes are big enough to allow for good breathing and sight lines. Face paint has become a popular option for creating unique decorated faces without the risks associated with cumbersome, dark, latex masks. Many manufacturers make costumes that are fireproof, which is an important consideration. Finally, be sure that your children carry a flashlight, glow stick, or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.
* Children of all ages should be taught that tricks that result in vandalism or destruction of other people’s property are serious offences with considerable consequences to the perpetrator, his family, and the victim. This type of behavior diminishes the meaning and tradition of this Holiday.
* And most importantly, before diving in to any of the delectable treats, check each piece to make sure there is no tampering of any kind.
As a parent myself, I always look forward to the fond memories that Halloween brings to mind, and the thought of passing beloved traditions to the new generation of my family means a great deal to me. But the safety of our children comes first, and following these simple tips can help ensure that everyone has a safe and very happy Halloween.
Senator Karcher represents the 12th Legislative District, which includes parts of Monmouth and Mercer Counties. In the State Senate, she serves as a member of the Senate Transportation Committee and as vice chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.