• 73°

City offers Halloween safety tips

Halloween can be a fun and magical night for youngsters when they get to dress up and go trick-or-treating. The city of Suffolk wants everyone to have an enjoyable and safe time out and about.

Parents are reminded that it is against the law for anyone over the age of 12 to trick-or-treat in Suffolk. Trick-or-treating in Suffolk ends at 8 p.m.

Please keep these safety tips in mind when you are out with your little ‘ghost’ or ‘goblin’ courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Costumes

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
  • Use only costumes, wigs and accessories with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 if they ever have an emergency or become lost.

Jack-o’-lanterns

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.

Safe home

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

Trick-or-treating

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on, and never enter a home or car for a treat.

On the road

Remind trick-or-treaters:

  • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
  • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
  • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks. Never cross between parked cars.
  • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will.
  • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

Motorists should:

  • Slow down, especially in residential neighborhoods.
  • Watch carefully for trick-or-treaters, who may be excited and difficult to see.
  • Don’t go out unless necessary.
  • As always, don’t drive drunk or distracted.