The spookiest season in North Carolina is here. On Halloween, an evening when millions of Americans wear costumes, run around in the dark, willingly take candy from strangers and try to scare themselves silly, well, a lot can go wrong. Here are some not-so-spooky suggestions to keep you and your kids safe this Halloween.
Halloween home safety: Don't let young children carve pumpkins, and use candles and other decorations appropriately. On Halloween night, make sure your home is well lit and your walkways are clear.
Travel in packs: Even if they're older, don't let kids go out alone on Halloween night. Insist that they travel in groups of at least three, and with an adult if necessary.
Have a plan: If your kids are old enough to go out on their own, make sure you know where they're headed and when you can expect them to be home. Let them know that it's not OK to change the plan without notifying you first.
Check the weather: No self-respecting Halloween lover likes to wear a coat over their costume; but sometimes it must be done. Young ones especially should wear enough clothing to stay warm, and shoes that they can actually walk in, especially if they're going to be outside. If your costume has the potential to cause overheating, on the other hand, try it out and be sure you're able to breathe, and that you can get out easily if necessary.
Avoid common costume hazards: Masks or clothing that makes it difficult to walk or see; colored contact lenses, makeup, wigs and other dressing-up accessories can pose a wide variety health and safety risks. At least a few days before the big day, test out your costume for tripping or safety hazards, allergic reactions, and other unforeseen issues.
Follow traffic laws: It's tempting to want to run wild on a night when the streets are full and drivers are behaving cautiously, but resist the urge; you don't know how visible you are (or aren't) to oncoming traffic. So use crosswalks, obey stop signs and red lights, and always remember to look both ways.
Protect your eyes: Buying colored contact lenses from anyone other than a medical professional could result in eye injury, infection, blindness or other serious problems. If you must use decorative lenses, never buy them from any vendor who doesn't require a prescription.
Inspect the goods: Halloween treats can be unsafe, and not just because they've been tampered with. Always inspect Halloween treats and toys for choking hazards, compromised packaging, or potential allergens. If it looks or smells funny, throw it out.
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