Safety tips for trick-or-treats and Halloween decorations

McDONOUGH — Halloween is just around the corner. The most important part of Halloween is keeping it safe for children. The Better Business Bureau is offering the following tips to ensure parents and their children have a safe and fun Halloween.

Candy Safety:

Eating sweet treats is a big part of the fun on Halloween. While trick-or-treating, health and safety experts suggest these tips to parents and children:

Don’t eat candy until it has been inspected at home.

Trick-or-treaters should eat a snack before heading out, so they won’t be tempted to nibble on treats that haven’t been inspected.

Tell children not to accept—or eat—anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.

Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.

Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.

Lawn Safety:

If the tag says “Indoor Use Only,” keep it inside. Maybe more than any other holiday, Halloween lends itself to electronic products that leap into action when someone crosses a motion detector’s beam. Many of these more modern “scare in a box” items suck up a healthy dose of electricity, are controlled by fairly delicate electronics, and aren’t cheap.

Make the yard a No Tripping Zone. Kids lugging around buckets of candy in ill-fitting costumes, often peeking through eyeholes in masks are notoriously clumsy. Keep a clear path in and out of the candy distribution area.

Keep the good stuff out of reach. Besides being notoriously clumsy, kids are also insatiably curious. They’re going to wonder if that $500 fog-spewing, bigger-than-life, fully-lit, dancing Grim Reaper is a robot or just the homeowner in a suit, and there’s nothing that spoils a circuit board faster than a steep fall off a couple of hay bales onto the neighbor’s driveway or the front stoop of a house. Rule of Thumb: The more expensive or delicate the item, the farther it should be out of reach and the more protected it should be.

Costume Safety:

Make sure it fits. Do a Halloween runway show with children to make sure the costume offers full mobility and trim as needed. Also, make sure children aren’t overloaded. Part and parcel of some characters may be the wand, light saber, batarangs or baseball bat he or she carries, but add in a candy carrying receptacle and see how well the child maneuvers around the living room.

Also, consider how well a child can see inside a mask. Sometimes, a couple snips can clear out a big range of vision. Likewise, consider how well your child can be seen at night in their costume. Make sure your child can be seen by motorists, haunted house owners, and other Trick-or-Treaters after dark.

Consider the footwear. Many kids have been forced to turn back for home with far less than the annual candy quota because of pain, or because they have tripped or fallen in their Halloween costume shoes. Practicality counts more than having the perfect costume footwear. Selecting the proper footwear can avoid a Halloween misstep.

Final Thoughts:

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

Carry a flashlight while trick-or-treating so children see where they’re going and so other you can them too.

Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats unless parents know the cook well.

Children should enter homes only if with a trusted adult. Otherwise, they should always stay outside.