October 30, 2012

Play it safe on Halloween


---- — ALBANY — Halloween is lots of fun, but there can be hazards, too.

To maximize safety for trick-or-treaters, says the American Red Cross Northeastern New York Region, plan a route ahead of time. Adults need to know where their older children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany the little ones as they walk through the neighborhood.

If Hurricane Sandy hits as expected, trick-or-treating could get a little more complicated — or certainly a little more wet. Families should take extra care to see that their children are safe.

Here are some other safety tips:

▶ Because a lot of trick-or-treating happens at dusk or after dark, add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.

▶ Use flame-resistant costumes.

▶ Use face makeup instead of masks, which can cover children’s eyes and make it hard to see.

▶ Make sure trick-or-treaters have a flashlight.

▶ Visit only the homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door — never go inside.

▶ Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic.

▶ Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner.

▶ Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. Don’t cross between parked cars.

▶ Be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.

For those expecting trick-or-treaters at their door:

▶ Make sure the outdoor lights are on.

▶ Sweep leaves from sidewalks and steps.

▶ Clear the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over.

▶ Restrain pets.

▶ Use a glow stick instead of a candle in jack-o-lanterns to avoid a fire hazard.

For more information, visit:

Also, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services reminds parents that they can use Facebook to access information about medium- and high-risk sex offenders living in their community before the kids head out to trick-or-treat. Go to

The agency launched the Facebook application in time for Halloween last year as a way to make registry information more readily accessible. To access it via a mobile device, visit