Get the candy, but keep the fun safe

Published 12:18 pm Thursday, October 30, 2003

By Staff
Our view
Autumn, with its shortening days and cooler nights, is a time for family fun. No matter how you feel about Halloween as a holiday, no one wants to see children in danger.
In order to keep the little ones safe as they go about gathering treats Thursday, follow a few precautions.
First, consider taking them to an organized fall festival at church, school or daycare. If you choose to go out from 5-9 Thursday night, make sure to keep the fun safe by having children carry a flashlight,walking, not running, using sidewalks, obeying traffic signals, staying in familiar neighborhoods, not cutting across yards or driveways, having someone in the group wear a watch you can read in the dark, make sure costumes don't drag on the ground, wearing shoes that fit (even if they don't go with costume) use only flexible knives, swords or other props, wear clothing with reflective markings or tape approach only houses that are lit, stay away from and don't pet animals you don't know. Children of any age should be accompanied by an adult, who tells children to bring the candy home to be inspected before eating, then look at the wrapping carefully and toss out anything that looks suspect.
Homeowners can help keep the evening safe, too. They will want to make sure the yard is clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes and flower pots that can trip the young ones. Put pets up to protect them from cars or inadvertently biting a trick-or-treater.
Remember battery powered jack o'lantern candles are preferable to a real flame. If you do use candles, place the pumpkin well away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing. Make sure paper or cloth yard decorations won't be blown into a flaming candle. Healthy food alternatives for trick-or-treaters include packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, mini boxes of raisins and single-serve packets of low-fat popcorn that can be popped later. Non-food treats such as plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers and coins are always welcome.
And on that note
Our thanks go out to those people and organizations that put together the safe places to trick or treat, as well as the fall festivals that are going on the next couple of weeks.
It is hard enough to bring a child up the way a parent wants them to live, without having to search for fun, safe alternatives that do not make living within your beliefs seem boring and doing 'what everyone else does' seem exciting or more fun.
As the world around them changes, parents are looking for ways to preserve traditions — such as Halloween — that they grew up with. But many families are going back to traditions and values that were abandoned in a time when it seemed that doing what everyone else does was an alternative that worked.
Fall festivals, whether they be at school, daycare, church or other organizations, figure largely in helping those parents find the way to start new traditions. The organizers and volunteers who make it happen are to be thanked, loudly and often. We salute them.

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