Halloween is upon us. Soon, pint-sized monsters, superheroes and other enchanted characters will roam the streets asking for treats. And people like me will be there to oblige them.
Ask your children what their favorite part of Halloween is and you’ll get three answers: candy, dressing up and candy. It’s an exciting day for the young and the young at heart.
Eventually, these trick-or-treaters grow up to have trick-or-treaters of their own. Yamel Medina remembers that her Halloweens 20 years ago were different from today. “It used to be a full evening event,” she says. “Now, it lasts for a few hours. It’s not all night.”
Nowadays, parents have found other ways to celebrate Halloween. Some of the most popular are church-sponsored events like the Calvary Temple Worship Center’s Wonkalicious Chocolate Fest and the Shelter Cove’s October Blest. There, children may dress up, get candy and have fun without the dangers of trick-or-treating.
Trick-or-treating can be as scary as it is fun. Children are four times more likely to get into traffic accidents on Halloween. A seemingly innocuous treat may send them to the hospital. Even a minor accident can ruin the day.
A happy Halloween is a safe Halloween. We have to mind our surroundings and teach our children to do the same. Follow these safety tips if you and your children go trick-or-treating.
• Go trick-or-treating with your children if they’re still young. Look out for trouble and keep your children close to you. Be prepared in case something goes wrong. Stay alert as you approach a house; a loose item or a high step could trip your child.
• Light is the greatest asset for trick-or-treating. Some parents, like Davida Dominguez, usually go out before dark. After dark, use anything that can reflect or produce light. You or your child can wear light clothing, reflective tape or even glow-in-the-dark shoes. You can also use glow sticks or flashlights. Stay close to the streetlights if you need to.
• Make sure the costume fits your child. If your child struggles to keep it on, then it’s not a good costume to walk in. Take it in, let it out, or switch it. Your child should not wear a mask between houses if it obstructs vision.
• Remember, even goblins have to obey traffic laws. Keep your children from dashing across the street. You can’t guarantee that cars will stop for them. Stay on a sidewalk or walk along the curb facing the traffic. Always cross at a corner, preferably with a crosswalk that’s well lit.
• Don’t go trick-or-treating in unfamiliar territory. Plan a safe route within your neighborhood. Avoid any houses that have their lights off; that means there’s no candy there. Keep your children from going inside anyone’s house.
• And finally, know what your children are getting. Don’t let your children have their treats until you inspect them yourself. If you find anything out-of-place in your child’s bag, get rid of it. Items to look out for include unwrapped treats, choking hazards or anything your child might be allergic to.
Make Halloween a night to remember. I’ll be waiting with the treats if you stop by my house.
Boyer is a Modesto resident. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.