Teacher offers Halloween safety tips

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

    Halloween is one of the most exciting nights of the year for a child. Everything that is forbidden — staying up late, parading around the neighborhood in freaky costumes, begging for candy from neighbors, and gorging on treats — is expected and encouraged on Halloween. But Halloween is also one of the most frightening nights for parents who do all they can to protect their children from things that go bump in the night. Following these tricks and tips can help parents and kids have a safe and enjoyable Halloween. Make sure mask holes are large enough to see through. There’s no way your little pirate or princess will be able to keep up and enjoy him or herself if visibility is a problem. Sacrifice historical accuracy for safety and you’ll both be happier. Take a flashlight along for dark streets. Kids may tell you that it’s part of the spooky charm of Halloween to walk dark streets and prove you’re not afraid, but a flashlight is essential. Make sure children can’t be tripped by loose costumes. You’ve toiled for hours to make sure your child’s mummy costume is horrifying. But take a few extra moments to make sure he or she can walk — and run — easily. Don’t let kids eat unwrapped candy or fruit until a parent has inspected it. This isn’t just smart from a safety point of view — it also helps ensure parent access to the treats! Stay on the sidewalk and away from traffic as much as possible. One of the greatest dangers on Halloween is the potential for a car accident. With children darting across streets and between houses and harried parents trying to round children into the minivan to make the next stop, it’s too easy for an accident to occur. Remind your children to stay on the sidewalk and look both ways before crossing streets. Wear bright reflective colors so cars can see you when it is dark. Your child may argue that Superman never wore bright orange reflectors on his back, but as long as your child can’t fly, then neither can that argument. Halloween can be a fun and frightful night for kids, but working together, parents and teachers can ensure that when Halloween ends, the ghosts and goblins transform safely back into children — until next year. Joyce Powell, a special education teacher in Vineland, is president-elect of the New Jersey Education Association.