Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Trick-or-treat safely: 13 tips to make Halloween harmless this year


Costumed trick-or-treaters will dot the streets Thursday night, going door-to-door to fill pillowcases and plastic buckets with candy.

But the night many children dream about the entire month of October can also create a nightmare for law enforcement and emergency workers. With that in mind, the Philadelphia Police Department on Wednesday released a list of 13 safety tips for Halloween revelers.

  1. Make sure your children carry a glow stick or flashlight and wear bright or reflective clothing.
  2. Always use crosswalks, never cross streets between parked vehicles or diagonally across intersections.
  3. Make sure your children do not go inside stranger’s homes.
  4. Avoid trick-or-treating alone, go with a friend or in a group. Younger children should be accompanied by a trusted adult.
  5. Make sure your children know never to approach vehicles and to stay alert for suspicious incidents.
  6. Check all candy before allowing your kids to eat them. Parents, discard any homemade or unwrapped treats.
  7. Masks can impair or block your little goblin’s eyesight. Ensure that your children’s masks fit properly or consider using non-toxic makeup.
  8. Only trick-or-treat at houses where the lights are on.
  9. While driving through your neighborhoods, use extra care and drive slowly!
  10. Consider attending or organizing a party in your home, school, or community center as an alternative to trick-or-treating.
  11. Map your route before going out and have a plan for what to do in case you get separated.
  12. Teach your children to draw attention to themselves if anyone should try to grab them. Tell them to make every effort to escape by walking, running, pulling away, yelling, kicking, or otherwise attracting attention.
  13. Any and all suspicious activity should be reported to police immediately by calling 911.

Don't have children? According to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Halloween can also be a perilous holiday for man's four-legged friends.

Dr. Kenneth Drobatz, chief of emergency services at Penn Vet's Ryan Hospital, released a list of six tips to keep pets out of the emergency room Thursday night: 

  1. Keep Halloween candy out of your pet’s reach. Chocolate and other treats can be potentially harmful to animals. Tinfoil and cellophane candy wrappers can also be hazardous if swallowed.
  2. Don’t put costumes on your pets unless you know they enjoy it. If they do, make sure the costume doesn’t restrict your pet’s movement, vision, hearing or ability to breathe or bark. Adults should supervise pets in costume at all times.
  3. Keep pets away from lit pumpkins. Curious pets could be burned or start a fire if they knock the pumpkin over.
  4. Keep pets inside on Halloween to avoid pranksters who may harm them. This is especially important for cats, which should be kept inside for several days before and after Halloween. Black cats in particular may be at risk. 
  5. Children in costumes may frighten your dog or cat. Pets should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treating hours.
  6. If your pet is very social and you choose not to put him/her in a separate room, be sure your pet doesn’t dart out when you open the door. Just in case, make sure your pets are wearing current identification.
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