Since Halloween is always Oct. 31, that's the day the Town of Wake Forest encourages families to go door-to-door in costumes for candy and fun. The Wake Forest Police Department also recommends that little ghosts and goblins trick-or-treat between the hours of 6 and 8 p.m.
When little ghosts and goblins are "haunting" local neighborhoods with trick-or-treat bags in hand, the Wake Forest Police Department wants to ensure a safe and happy experience for your family by offering the following safety tips:
Attire and Accessories
Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping or entanglement.
Consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire.
Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, look for and purchase only those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
If trick-or-treating after dark, supply children and their escorts with flashlights and fresh batteries.
Remind older children to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost. If you have a cellular phone, have your child bring it along so you can communicate with each other, if necessary.
Never allow small children (under age 12) to carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers, and then parents can do the cutting.
Tea-light candles with aluminum liners are safest for candle-lit pumpkins.
Lighted pumpkins kept indoors should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects. Whether indoors or outside, never leave candlelit pumpkins unattended.
Home Safe Home
To keep your home safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, remove anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
Clean wet, slippery leaves off sidewalks and steps.
Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects.
A Safe Hunt
Plan and review with your children a route that is acceptable to you. This way, you can check on their progress by car if you begin to worry that they've been gone too long, or if inclement weather hits, and they need a ride home.
Agree on a specific time when trick-or-treaters must return home, and have your children wear wristwatches so they can keep track of time.
Remember to drive slowly and cautiously through neighborhoods on Halloween and remind your neighbors, friends and family to do the same.
Healthy Halloween Eats
A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
To avoid an overload of sugary treats, focus on the "tricks" portion of Halloween and consider passing out plastic spider rings, Halloween motif pencils or other non-food items to trick-or-treaters who visit your home.
Try to portion treats for the days following Halloween.
Make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies) are given only to those of an appropriate age.
Finally, the police department reminds residents to leave a porch light on if you are welcoming trick-or-treaters, so children will know that it is OK to visit your home. If you do not wish to take part in trick-or-treating, please leave your exterior light off.
It is also helpful to keep a few fire prevention tips in mind during the Halloween season. Remember, paper ignites easily, so treats should be kept in something other than paper. Use flashlights in pumpkins rather than candles and keep holiday decorations, such as dried cornstalks, away from heat sources.
For more information, contact the Wake Forest Police Department at 919-554-6150.