Halloween is next week so kids and families are getting excited for one of the most popular holidays of the year. It is always fun to dress the kids up, go around the neighborhood to trick or treat and see all the ghoulish decorations.
However, Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians, so you must know how to keep your children safe. Your home is also exposed on this night as many families are out of the house at parties and other events. These are a few ways you can be sure your children and home are protected so you can have a safe and fun Halloween night.
Before you even head out of the house, sit down and plan your trick or treating route. Take a trip around the neighborhood you will be visiting during daytime hours so you can get an idea of the layout. Speak with your kids about the area you are visiting, and which houses you will go trick or treating. While you are out enjoying the night, visit well-lit houses. Also, be sure to stick to the sidewalks or any paths within the neighborhood. Never walk in the street. If you must cross the road be sure to do so at a designated crosswalk. Never let your kids walk between parked cars and be sure they always know to look both ways. Kids are excited when trick or treating and often run in front of you so keep a close eye on where they are and where they are going.
Walking around a neighborhood at night is always an issue when it comes to lighting. Many neighborhoods have streetlights, but these are often dim and still do not provide adequate lighting for the area. Vehicles are still coming in and out of the neighborhoods in the early evening and the transition from day to night makes it difficult for many drivers to see kids walking around, especially if they are wearing darker costumes. If possible, try to trick or treat early in the evening and always carry flashlights. You can also make it fun for the kids by having them wear glowstick necklaces or bracelets that make them more visible to potential drivers. You can also consider using reflective tape strips, which you can buy from any hardware store, on your child’s costume so car lights will shine off them, making them visible to drivers.
Masks are great for scaring your friends and family. Kids always love wearing masks at Halloween. However, be aware they greatly obstruct your child’s vision, especially as the sun goes down. Instead consider face paint to keep your child’s vision unobstructed so they have full views of their surroundings.
Most parents who grew up in the 1980s and ‘90s remember the commercials to always check your child’s candy for drugs and harmful substances. The old razor blade in the candy stories. Even though these reports were often discredited back then the adage still holds true. Always check your kid’s candy for anything dangerous or you may not want them to have. For younger children check for small hard candies like Gobstoppers, Fire Balls, and other small candies that may be a choking hazard. Also, always throw away homemade treats, unless you trust the person who gave them out.
For homeowners it is important to protect your own home while you are out with the kids or attending a Halloween party. Halloween not only attracts ghosts and ghouls. It attracts potential burglars. Make sure your security system is working properly, motion sensor lights are working and if you have a video system be sure it is connected to your phone.
Jason Fischbeck, owner of Automated Environments in Scottsdale, says it is always important to have your system up and running smoothly during this time of the year.
“As we have the first big holiday of the season it is a great time to make sure your security systems for your home are working properly,” Fischbeck said. “Check your lighting system, as this is the first determent for potential burglars, and be sure your overall security system is working properly. Test it a few times before heading out for the evening.”
Halloween is the first of the big holidays at the end of the year and arguably one of the most fun nights of the year. Keeping your family and home safe needs to be on the mind for any parent. Following these few simple steps will help you and your family have an enjoyable evening. And parents, don’t forget to snag a couple candy bars for yourself after the kids go to sleep.
Bill Herzog is the CEO of LionHeart Security Services in Tempe. Herzog has more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement.