Linda Geist

BOONVILLE, Mo. – Halloween is full of scary images. But nothing is scarier than a child’s safety being compromised, says Sarah Traub, University of Missouri Extension human development and family studies specialist.

Parents and other adults warn children not to take candy from a stranger and not to go to a stranger’s home. Yet on Halloween night these cardinal rules of childhood safety are broken, Traub says. This creates a great opportunity for families to talk openly about appropriate and safe behavior.

Traub lists ways to keep your child safe on Halloween night:

• Dress your child in a light-colored, flame-resistant costume decorated with reflective tape.

• Avoid long costumes that might cause tripping.

• Check costumes with masks or eye patches that could limit vision.

• Instead of candles, use a flashlight or battery-powered device to make pumpkins glow.

• Clear your yard, steps and porch of items that can trip children and their parents. Keep outside lights on.

• Go with children 10 and younger on trick-or-treat rounds. Do not allow a child to enter anyone’s house alone.

• Inspect candy and other treats carefully before allowing children to eat them.

• Plan a route and discuss limitations for unsupervised adolescents.

• Trick or treat during daylight hours if possible and stay in well-lit, populated areas after dark.

• Trick or treat in familiar neighborhoods.

• Tell children to never go into a stranger’s home or car for any reason.

• Go to the bathroom before leaving home so that children aren’t tempted to enter someone’s home to use the bathroom.

• Check the sexual predator registry for homes to avoid in your neighborhood at

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