All treats, no tricks: Tips to be safe this Halloween

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Before long, our neighborhood streets will be filled with young ghosts, goblins and pirates, all roaming house-to-house looking for treats.

It is important for everyone to stay as safe as possible for trick-or-treating and Halloween parties. Here are some tips and reminders.

For kids:

  • Make sure your costume is fireproof or flame retardant and that eyeholes are large enough for good vision. Better yet - decorate your face. Be careful of too long or billowing costumes. Decorate your costume with reflective tape or carry a glow stick so you can be seen.
  • Stay away from open flames. If your clothes should catch fire, make sure you know how to put the fire out. Stop, Drop and Roll - drop to the ground and roll back and forth while you cover your face with your hands. Or you can smother it by wrapping yourself in a towel or blanket.
  • Always carry a flashlight and stay on the sidewalks.
  • Stay in neighborhoods you know and avoid cutting across driveways or yards. Skip houses that are not well lit.
  • Let your parents check your candy before you eat it.

For adults:

  • If you are out and about on trick-or-treat nights, make sure you drive cautiously and keep an eye out for kids.
  • If you set jack-o-lanterns on your porch with candles, make sure they are far enough away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking.
  • When decorating walkways, avoid using candles or torch lights, as costumes may brush against these. Flashlights are a better choice.
  • Make sure your yard is free of gardening equipment, hoses, flower pots or anything that a child can trip on.
  • Instruct children who are attending parties at others' homes to locate the exits and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
  • It's best to have an adult accompany children, but if they are going without you, know the route your kids are taking. Explain the difference between tricks and vandalism, such as throwing eggs at a house or animal cruelty.
  • Stay away from and don't pet animals you don't know.
  • If children have a good dinner before they go trick-or-treating, they will be less likely to eat their candy before you have a chance to check it.

For pets:

  • Keep candy away from pets, as some treats are toxic to them.
  • Keep in mind that pets can easily knock over a lit jack-o-lantern or candle, which can start a fire.
  • For some pets, wearing a costume can create stress. Make sure the costume does not limit their movement or ability to breathe. If they seem distressed when they try on their costume, consider a simple bandana.
  • If the flurry of activity at the door is too much for your pets, consider keeping them in another room.

Cinda Seamon is the fire and life safety educator for the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue.

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