On Monday, costumed children will be roaming neighborhoods in search of candy.
A few precautions can ensure trick-or-treating ghouls and goblins a fun and safe Halloween.
The biggest risk to trick-or-treaters is motorists, said Rene Hopkins, a registered nurse and coordinator of Safe Kids East Central Georgia through the Georgia Health Sciences University Children’s Medical Center. Pedestrian injuries are one of the four leading causes of death in children.
“However, on Halloween, they are four times more likely to be involved in a pedestrian-related injury than any other time of the year,” Hopkins said.
Light-colored costumes are more easily seen by motorists, but Hopkins said costumes should include something reflective, such as reflective tape, glow sticks or flashlights. A one-inch square piece of reflective tape can be seen up to 500 feet away, she said.
“Being seen is probably one of the most important things as well as being able to see,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins suggested avoiding loose-fitting costumes and accessories, such as wigs, capes and long skirts that can obscure vision or cause children to trip.
“We recommend face paint (rather than) a mask,” Hopkins said.
Sturdy shoes will help avoid tripping and injuries from stepping on harmful items.
Battery-operated jack-o-lanterns and other decorations reduce the risk of flowing costumes catching fire. Parents should always choose flame-retardant costumes, Hopkins said.
Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said deputies will be “out in abundance in an effort to ensure trick-or-treaters, as well as those celebrating the fall tradition of Halloween, have a safe and enjoyable time.”
He suggested that younger children always be accompanied by adults and follow a route that minimizes street crossings. Visit homes on one side of a street, then cross in a well-lighted area to homes on the other side. Never cross between parked cars.
Avoid poorly lit houses and never go into a stranger’s home, Morris said. Parents can check the list of area sex offenders by visiting www.columbiacountyso.org.
Hopkins said homeowners should make their yards safe for trick-or-treaters.
“(Determine) what is the path the children are most likely to take and make sure it is clear of hazards and well-lit,” she said.
Dinner or a snack before trick-or-treating will help children avoid snacking on candy before it can be checked. Any homemade or unwrapped candy should be thrown away.
Morris said motorists should be on the lookout for children and be prepared to stop if they dart into the street.