The Indiana Poison Center and local law enforcement officials have provided some safety tips to help make sure Halloween a happy event.
* Treat safety
Eating a snack or dinner before trick-or-treating, or giving children some candy from home, will help avoid the temptation to eat from unchecked treat bags.
According to the Indiana Poison Center, an adult should check all treats --including fruit and homemade treats -- for faded/opened wrappers and other signs of contamination, like puncture holes, before the candy is eaten.
Pet owners should also remember that human treats, like chocolate, could be poisonous to pets.
Parents are encouraged to discard any homemade candy or baked goods in your child's treat bag unless received from a relative or trusted friend.
* Costume Safety
A properly fitted costume can help keep children safe.
Avoid flimsy material and clothing that is too big -- such as baggy sleeves, billowing skirts or oversized pants -- to help prevent children from tripping and/or falling.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission urges parents electing to purchase pre-made or store-bought costumes with Flame Resistant labels. Although this does not mean these items won't catch fire, it does indicate the costume will resist burning and should extinguish quickly in the event it caught fire.
Shoes need to fit properly to help keep children from being injured during a fall or stumbling while crossing a road.
Costumes should be bright enough to be clearly visible during twilight and nighttime hours. If not, use reflective tape.
Props are a must for some costumes. However, parents are urged to make sure simulated guns, swords, knives and other similar accessories do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury.
Masks should fit properly and not restrict breathing and have eyeholes large enough to allow a child full vision.
Wearing cosmetics or face paint allows maximum visibility, but this creates other safety precautions to consider. Some makeup and other similar products might contain chemicals that can cause allergic reactions or other health concerns for some children. Choose non-toxic, hypoallergenic cosmetics that are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and follow the instructions to prevent adverse reactions.
* Pedestrian Safety
Officials with National Transportation Safety Board and law enforcement urge adults or older responsible siblings to always accompany young children while trick-or-treating. It's also a good opportunity to discuss safety.
Children should be cautioned to not run out in traffic, stop at intersections and look both ways before crossing streets, to not run between parked cars or run from house to house and urged to use the sidewalk, if available, rather than walking in the streets.
Carrying a flashlight (with fresh batteries) or glow sticks will help make children visible to pedestrians and motorists alike, while having accessibility to a cell phone can help in an emergency situation.
Those individuals planning to welcome little spooksters to their homes with candy should make sure the sidewalk area is clear of anything that could cause a fall and pumpkins lit with candles are safely out of the way of flowing costumes.
Carrying a fully charged, working cell phone is also a great safety tip, according to Brazil City Police Chief Larry Pierce.
"This is a fun time for children," Pierce said. "Parents should take the time to be with their kids and make sure they are safe while out trick-or-treating. We will have more officers on the streets during the holiday to make sure everyone is safe this weekend."
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 contact numbers to keep in mind to help make this Halloween season safe include:
* Brazil Police Department: 446-2211,
* Clay County Sheriff's Department: 446-2535, and
* Indiana Poison Control: (800) 222-1222.
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 families to take the opportunity during this spooky holiday to discuss "stranger danger" and why children should not enter homes or apartments unaccompanied by an adult or family member.