Halloween: Time for witches, wizards, safety

By Tech. Sgt. Kevin Brown: 27th SOW Safety

Halloween brings out ghouls, goblins, super heroes, witches, wizards and pirates who will soon be out en masse to pillage and plunder every household’s stores of candy and goodies. Both children and adults will be out and about well past dark as they trick or treat, attend Halloween parties or visit the myriad of haunted houses that arise this time of the year.

For many, this is one of most anticipated holidays of the year, but it is important to avoid the dangers that could turn a fun time into a nightmare.

A study conducted for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that from 1975-1996 the number of deaths among young pedestrians (ages 5-14) was four times higher than other nights of the year. Although this not the only type of injury or hazard that can be suffered on Halloween, it is the most devastating for those who lose a loved one.

Here are some things to remember to help make Halloween a safe and fun time for everyone. Children should:

• Travel in groups and be accompanied by an adult.

• Carry a fully charged cell phone and have a list of emergency phone numbers.

• Have their names and addresses attached to their costumes.

• Only use costume swords and knives that are flexible, not rigid or sharp.

• Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks.

• Cross streets at corners or crosswalks, look both ways before crossing, and stay together in groups as they cross.

• Try to use brightly colored clothing, reflective tape, or retroreflective material and make sure the costume or clothing is of a flame retardant material.

• Use face paint when possible, this allows for better peripheral vision.

• Make sure the costume fits properly; a costume that is too long or has items dangling from it can become a tripping hazard or get caught on something, and hats can slide down and cover the eyes.

Parents should:

• Feed their children as well as themselves a good meal before going out; it will reduce the temptation to snack before inspecting the candy.

• Supervise the outing; never let a young child go out alone, and for older kids set a curfew.

• Drive slowly, exit alleyways and driveways slowly; you know the kids will forget everything you told them in their mad rush to get all the candy they possibly can.

• Have children exit vehicles on the sidewalk side of the vehicle.

• Don’t give the child a knife to carve a pumpkin, let them draw the face and clean out the inside.

• Use an LED candle instead of a real candle in the pumpkin, and route the power cable away from the walking path.

• Check Halloween candy before letting the kids eat it.

Halloween can be fun and safe if you take the time and a few precautions. I hope all the kids both young and old have a wonderful Halloween this year; I know I am looking forward to seeing all those costumed kids this year.