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Trick or Treat?

Photo Credit Laurie Halperin www.fotolaurie.com

On Halloween, parents will not only allow, but encourage their children to accept candy – from strangers!  Use these reminders to enjoy the treats of the holiday – without suffering any of the nasty tricks.

The first rule of Halloween – at least in our house – is share the candy with Mom! But seriously, as Sgt. Renaldi Thruston of the Santa Monica Police Department reminds us, “while there aren’t razor blades in every apple, kids shouldn’t eat anything – even wrapped candy – until they get home and it is inspected by a responsible adult.†Now, as a person with a sweet tooth and kids, I know it’s next to impossible to heed this wisdom. But, since everyone, whether in costume or not, should have a flashlight, you should first inspect the type and amount of candy before it’s gobbled while you’re out and about.

If your little ghosts and goblins are venturing out on their own, starting at about 12 years old, “by which time they’re usually savvy enough,†says child safety expert Pattie Fitzgerald, “you should also arm them with a cell phone and always make them go in a group. Define the route, from which they aren’t allowed to deviate, ahead of time.†The flats of Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, which have wide sidewalks, are amongst the safest places to go.

While it’s best for tykes to go out during daylight hours, that gets harder as winter approaches. Hence, remember the flashlights. Sgt. Thruston reminds us that we should “stay on well-lit streets, cross only in designated crosswalks and remove face masks before doing so, so that our peripheral vision isn’t impaired.†There is a real danger that small children in dark costumes can’t be seen by drivers, so you might even add a reflector to their costume.

As for strangers offering candy, Fitzgerald counsels “go on the assumption that everyone is fine unless they’re breaking or blurring a boundary. Listen to your gut. People waving hello is great. But, if someone waves and asks you to come over, go find Mom. Or, when you’re older, teach the tweens and teens to just leave the situation – and to tell their parents about the person who tried to entice them into it. Never, ever go into a stranger’s house or car. Halloween is a good time to review safety rules. Don’t dwell on the negative but do remind your charges about the safety basics – go to www.safelyeverafter.com for a list – and enjoy the sweets together!â€

Halloween, with its friendly neighbors, costumes and free-flowing candy can be a fun, family tradition which reminds us that the world is a good and joyful place. By following the guidelines suggested within, the only thing families should fear are the calories!

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