Halloween is upon us, and while everyone’s running around tonight on a treasure hunt for candy and (on those lucky occasions) money, I just wanted to send out a few safety reminders. This should be a night of fun, but we should make sure we take certain precautions.
Some Tips To Keep This Halloween Safe
Plan ahead for emergency situations! Go over possible emergency scenarios with your children before Halloween.
Plan a safe walking route using well-lit streets. Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.
Teach children their phone number and how to call 9-1-1. Review with your children the principle of “Stop-Drop-Roll,” should their clothes catch fire. Learn or review CPR skills to aid someone who is choking or having a heart attack.
Be aware of your visibility! There are some outfits that have to be black, but remember dark colors are more difficult to see at night in a car.
Adults with groups of kids should have at least one flashlight (make sure it works before you leave, too – the last thing you want is a dying battery while you’re trying to fill up your candy bags).
Remind children carrying flashlights not to aim them at the car windows; if the driver is blinded, there may be an accident. Alternatively, reflective strips may be sewn or attached to dark outfits; or the child could accessorize with glow-sticks, glow-bracelets, or glow-necklaces.
Know where the McGruff House (or a safe place) is in your neighborhood! A McGruff House is a home that is a safe place for children. They will have a large yellow and black sign visible from the front that says ‘McGruff House;’ the sign also has a picture of McGruff the Crime Dog and is roughly in the shape of a house. It is best to learn where the McGruff Houses are located ahead of time so your kids know where to go, and so you know where to look if you can’t find them anywhere else.
Stay in your group! The best way to have a fun and safe Halloween is to make sure children are with at least one adult that they, or you, know and trust. If a child gets ahead of the group but are within sight, advise them to stand under a streetlight where they are highly visible until their group is able to catch up. If they are completely lost from their group, they should go back home if they are near there, or to a friend or relative’s house if they are known and trusted. If no one like that lives on that street, they should go to a McGruff House. If there is no McGruff House, they can go to a lighted house, stay outside and do NOT go inside, and ask whoever answers the door to call 911 for them. An officer will arrive and bring the child home. If the child feels uncomfortable in any way at the first house, or the person tells them to come inside, the child should say they just want the person to call 911. If the person is insistent, the child should simply leave and go to the next house, asking them to call 911 instead.
Be careful of jack-o-lanterns! Long or loose fitting costumes may catch fire if children stand too close to a candlelit jack-o-lantern. Also warn them not to smash pumpkins, as they may not know what is inside and they could get hurt.
Have parents or guardians check candy before eating! It’s important that guardians make sure the candy is safe before the children eat it. Although most of the time there is nothing harmful inside, we don’t want that one time to be with your child. Especially beware of unwrapped or homemade candy, unless you know specifically who it came from and you trust them.
There are several good sites that include more safety tips and some printouts or fun handouts for the kids. If you are interested, an example is the National Crime Prevention Council’s Halloween safety site at: http://www.ncpc.org/about/halloween.php.
Although this is a fun holiday, there are people who may want to hurt you or your children tonight. Please keep your own safety in mind, and be aware of your environment. Enjoy yourself, your outfits, and the wide assortment of delicious candies (now I remember why I don’t buy ahead of time… I already need to refill my chocolate supplies).
Have a great Halloween night and stay safe!
CPS Chelsea Adams
Crime Prevention Specialist
5th Precinct Mpls Police Dept.
3101 Nicollet Ave | Minneapolis, MN 55408