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Editorial: Follow precautions for safe Halloween

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Halloween is truly a strange tradition. Children dress up in masks and go from house to house demanding candy in an elaborate, sanctioned extortion scheme.

Well, not really. But that’s how it might look to an outsider. In fact, it’s one of the joyous traditions of childhood.

But all that fun can make it easy for youngsters and their parents to neglect some basic precautions. By following some simple rules, families can keep the evening’s festivities fun and safe.

To help make your Halloween a safe one, Greenwood Police Chief John Laut provides the following suggestions for not only children but parents and motorists, as well:

  • When planning a costume, keep in mind that long costumes and high-heeled shoes might be unsafe when climbing stairs and crossing streets. Wear light-colored, nonflammable costumes with a reflective design and a carry a flashlight after dark.
  • Consider using makeup instead of wearing a mask. Masks can obstruct vision.
  • Adults should always accompany young children.
  • Avoid “random” trick-or-treating. Confine trick-or-treat visits to the immediate neighborhood, close friends or family members.
  • Advise children to never accept rides with strangers or older children not known to them and their parents.
  • Tell children not to enter any home unless it is one of a relative or known friend.
  • Watch out for traffic.
  • Advise children to be courteous and respectful of the property of others, always use sidewalks and driveways when approaching homes (stay out of yards, etc.).
  • Ask children to wait until they return home before eating any of their treats.
  • Adults should check all candy and treats thoroughly. Throw away all unwrapped candy and fruit.
  • At home, never invite trick-or-treaters inside and keep a porch light and/or driveway light on.
  • Adults driving during trick-or-treat hours should exercise extreme caution.
  • Everyone should remember to call 911 immediately if anyone or anything suspicious is observed.

Halloween is among the most pleasantly memorable times of childhood. By following basic safety principles, it can stay that way.

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