Halloween safety

Freddy, the 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs' jack-o'-lantern, dons a reflective belt in preparation for a safe Halloween at Langley Air Force Base, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Barry Loo)

Motorists, parents, chaperones and children should take extra precaution during Halloween. Safety preplanning can ensure that good times are had by all. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Barry Loo)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Halloween is almost here. Adults are buying candy to give to trick-or-treaters and kids are busy picking out their costumes. It's a fun holiday, but one that still requires safety precautions and preplanning to ensure that good times are had by all.

Motorists must be especially alert on Halloween. Because there will be many children out in reduced visibility conditions motorists should reduce their speed, enter and exit driveways and intersections carefully, and watch for children darting out from between parked cars or walking in roadways in dark clothing.

Trick-or-treaters and their chaperones should also take precautions. Please ensure that children walk from house to house instead of running and walk on sidewalks and not in streets. If there are no sidewalks trick-or-treaters and their chaperones should walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.

Don't cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or uneven terrain can present tripping hazards and stay in well lit areas. Chaperones can increase Halloween safety by taking children only to familiar areas, only stopping at well-lit houses or residences, and never entering strangers' homes.

If older children are allowed to trick-or-treat without parental supervision, parents can plan and discuss the route that their children intend to follow, get names and contact information for the entire group, and establish a return time in order to increase safety for the evening.

Costumes also present possible Halloween hazards. Long costumes present tripping hazards for children, while masks have the potential to hinder children's ability to see clearly. Masks should have large eye, nose and mouth openings. Make-up and face paint make great substitutes for masks while ensuring that children are able to see their surroundings.

If children are allowed out after dark, their costumes should be made with light colored materials. Also, strips of retro-reflective tape should be used to make children visible at night. Another way to increase children's visibility is to have them carry flashlights or glow-sticks.

Parents and chaperones can ensure that treats remain safe by inspecting all candy and treats before anything is eaten and ensuring that children do not eat any candy that looks like it has been tampered with. Candy in loose or open wrappers or candy not in its original wrapping should be discarded--When in doubt, throw it out! Also, small candies may present choking hazards for young children.

If you see an accident, witness a driver operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner or believe any incident could be dangerous for others, take the time and report it to the proper authorities by calling 911 or informing the local police. Have fun but make safety a priority for the evening!