[twitter]I dont want to be a part of the chorus out there to cancel Halloween, but it is a busy time of the year where kids are fueled by candy and excitement and things can happen.

While it’s unlikely the wicked witch at the end of your block will stick a razor blade in an apple, your kids are still running the streets and begging for candy from strangers. Just as you wouldn’t eat food left outside a hotel room because you don’t know where it’s been, you need to sift through your kids’ candy to sift out the unsavouries.

SAFETY TIPS FOR CHILDREN WHILE TRICK OR TREATING

Buy flame resistant costumes, wigs and accessories. The best costumes are bright and reflective. Keep costumes short enough to prevent tripping. Consider adding reflective tape or striping for greater visibility.

* Give every child a flashlight with fresh batteries. Remind children of traffic safety rules, and that they should cross streets at corners, and to never cross between parked cars.
* Make sure that children know how to call 9-1-1 or their local emergency number if they experience an emergency or become lost. 9-1-1 can be dialed free from any pay phone.
* Secure emergency information (name, address, telephone number) within a child’s Halloween attire.
* Give older children coins for non-emergency calls.
* Teach children to STOP, DROP and ROLL should their clothing catch fire: STOP immediately. DROP to the ground and cover face, unless hands are on fire. ROLL over and over until the flames are extinguished.

* Be extra careful when driving. Excited children can forget safety rules. Make sure to appoint a designated driver if you are attending adult Halloween parties.
* Accompany children when they go out trick or treating. Explain to children the difference between tricks and vandalism.
* Community centres, shopping malls and houses of worship may hold organized Halloween events. As an alternative, start one in your neighbourhood.

SAFETY AT HOME

* Consider using only battery powered lanterns or chemical light sticks instead of candles in decorations.
* Votive candles are the safest for pumpkins. Keep candles, matches and lighters away from the reach of children. Place lighted pumpkins on sturdy tables, away from curtains and other flammable objects. Never leave them unattended.
* When decorating your home, ensure that electrical outlets are not overloaded with holiday lighting or special effects. Keep exit doors unblocked. Replace bulbs on outdoor lights. Check the batteries in your smoke alarms. Test monthly; replace annually.
* Eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkways. Check for flower pots, low tree limbs, support wires or garden hoses that may prove hazardous for young children as they rush from house to house.

PET SAFETY

* Make pets safe by keeping them away from the door and visiting trick or treaters, and do not let them outside. Ensure that they are wearing collars and proper I.D. tags. Talk to a veterinarian for advice more specific to individual pets.
* Remember that chocolate is deadly for pets. So are plastic and foil candy wrappers. Give pets an extra biscuit, not Halloween candy.
* Dog’s tails can be lethal weapons. Keep dogs and cats away from Jack-O-Lanterns or lighted candles; they could knock them over and start a fire or receive serious burns.
* If holding an indoor Halloween party, place pets in a room, well away from the party. Leave them with food and water. Check on them once in a while, to let them know everything is fine.

Common sense should rule the day and everyone will end up with a safe and scary Halloween without the irrational fear culminating in a cancelling of Halloween.

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