In a few days, trick-or-treaters will take to the streets of Clay County in search of homes where plenty of candy will be handed out.
To help ensure those little ghosts and goblins are safe, officials at the Indiana Poison Center and local law enforcement have some safety tips to help make Halloween a happy event.
Make sure your children have eaten before they go trick-or-treating and give them some candy from home to eat while out to avoid the temptation to eat from their treat bags.
According to the Indiana Poison Center, an adult should check all treats -- those including fruit and homemade treats -- for faded or opened wrappers or other signs of contamination, like puncture holes, before eaten.
Pet owners should also remember that some treats, like chocolate, can be poisonous to pets.
Parents are encouraged to discard any homemade candy or baked goods in your child's treat bag unless received from someone you know and trust.
People who want to pass out treats this Halloween should consider giving non-edible treats, such as stickers, gift certificates or pencils.
Paying attention to the small details and making sure a costume properly fits can help keep children safe. Avoid costumes made of flimsy materials that are too big, has baggy sleeves, billowing skirts or oversized pants to prevent children from getting caught on something and tripping and/or falling. Remember the shoes need to fit properly to keep them from being injured during a fall.
Costumes need to be bright enough to be clearly visible during twilight and nighttime hours. If not, use reflective tape. Also, to see and be seen, children should also carry flashlights (with fresh batteries) or glow sticks to make them visible to pedestrians and motorists alike.
Purchasing items with Flame Resistant labels is a good start according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Although this does not mean these items won't catch fire, it does indicate they will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
What's a pirate without a sword? If these types of props are a must have for the costume, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury. While simulated guns, swords, knives and other similar accessories can make or break the look of the outfit they can also be dangerous. Don't let children of any age use props in a dangerous manner.
Make sure masks fit properly because they can potentially restrict breathing or obscure vision. If used, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow a child full vision.
Although using cosmetics rather than wearing a mask allows maximum visibility, this creates other safety precautions to consider. Some makeup and other similar products might contain emollient laxatives, talc or hydrocarbons that can cause allergic reactions or other health concerns. Choose non-toxic, hypoallergenic cosmetics that are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and follow the instructions to prevent adverse reactions.
We live in a hectic world, but taking the time to go trick-or-treating with children not only creates instant family time it also helps keep them safe. National Transportation Safety Board and law enforcement officials urge adults or older responsible siblings to always accompany young children while trick-or-treating. Children should be cautioned against running from house to house and urged to use the sidewalk if available, rather than walking in the street.
It's also a good opportunity for parents to discuss the dangers of running out from between parked cars and why it's safe to stop at intersections and look both ways before crossing a street.
Leaving the porch light on is the universal welcome sign for Halloween and signifies the best places for children to trick-or-treat.
However, the American Red Cross urges parents and guardians to talk with their children about why they should not enter homes or apartments unless accompanied with an adult and take the opportunity to discuss "stranger danger." Map out a trick-or-treating route so parents and their children know where they are.
People who are planning to welcome those little spooksters to their homes should make sure the sidewalk area is clear of anything that could cause someone to fall and pumpkins lit with candles are safely out of the way of flowing costumes.
Should an emergency situation arise, contact the Brazil City Police Department at 446-2211, the Clay County Sheriff's Department at 448-2535, or Indiana Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.
Important safety contact numbers to keep in mind this Halloween include:
* Brazil Police Department: 446-2211
* Clay County Sheriff's Department: 446-2535
* Indiana Poison Control: (800) 222-1222