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All treats, no tricks: Tips for a safe Halloween

October 18, 2010
By Erin E. O’Neill,

Scores of little ghosts and goblins, super heroes and princesses will take to the streets in the next few weeks in search of goodies and the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD) offers safety tips for parents to ensure a fun time is had by all.

"We want parents to be aware of safety concerns during Halloween and to know we are here if they have any questions," said Amanda Sutphin, child care coordinator with COAD.

Sutphin, mom to a 7-year-old and 11-year-old, said that there are many things to be diligent about when it comes to trick-or-treat, including watching for traffic, making sure children never go into a stranger's home and instructing youngsters not to eat candy until it has been thoroughly checked.

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Dressing appropriately is also a concern as the weather turns colder.

"I always make sure my kids' costumes can be layered," Sutphin said.

As an alternative to traditional trick-or-treating, the community of Oak Grove is holding Trick 'o Treat on the Track at the Oak Grove Recreational Center from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 30.

Fact Box

Halloween safety tips

- Children should never carve pumpkins without adult supervision.

- Be aware of fire hazards when lighting jack-o-lantern candles or use non-flammable light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights. Alternatively, try painting pumpkins for a fun, creative option with fewer risks.

- Halloween costumes should be light and bright, so children are clearly visible to motorists and other pedestrians. Trim costumes and bags with reflective tape that glows in the dark.

- Costumes should be flame-resistant and fit properly. Be sure the child's vision is unobstructed from masks, face paint or hats. Costumes that are too long may cause kids to trip and fall, trim or hem as necessary.

- Children should wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes to avoid falls.

- It is important that children walk on sidewalks and never cut across yards or driveways. They should also obey all traffic signals and remain in designated crosswalks when crossing the street.

- Trick-or-treaters should only approach houses that are well lit. Both children and parents should carry flashlights to see and be seen.

- Be aware of neighborhood dogs when trick-or-treating and remember that these pets can impose a threat when you approach their home.

- It's also a good idea to carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating in case of an emergency.

- Discuss the route the trick-or-treaters intend to follow and instruct children to travel only in familiar areas along an established route.

- Instruct the children to never enter a stranger's home.

  • Tell youngsters not to eat any treat until they return home.

- Pin a slip of paper with the child's name, address and phone number inside their pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development

"It really is kind of a safety issue," said Diana Sams, an Oak Grove resident and one of the event organizers.

"We don't have sidewalks and we really don't want little kids walking in the street."

Sams explained that her street, one of the shorter ones in the community, will usually see fewer trick-or-treaters than the longer streets, so this event will serve as a centralized location for households who want to participate.

"We're just trying something new this year. Anyone who wants to hand out treats can call us to reserve table space," Sams said. The number to call is 374-9503 and the event is for residents of the Oak Grove community.

Marietta police chief Brett McKitrick said that, despite budget troubles impacting overtime, there will be some patrolmen cruising neighborhoods to ensure safety.

"Knock on wood, we haven't had any problems lately," he said.

"But a presence puts parents' minds at ease."

Other alternative activities parents might consider include, but are not limited to: Trunk or Treat events sponsored by various area churches, Halloween in the Park in Marietta on Oct. 30, which picks up right as the annual Halloween Parade, sponsored by the Marietta Noon Lions Club, ends and Newport's Halloween Bash, starting at 9 p.m. on Oct. 30 at Newport Elementary.



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