MERIDEN, Conn.Halloween is a time of great fun for children, but it can be a little scary for parents and drivers. Children are often out after dark, crossing busy streets and perhaps not being as careful as they should.
Drivers need to be particularly cautious with the seasons shortened daylight and excited kids frantically going from neighbor to neighbor, said Ray Palermo, director of public information for Teachers Insurance Plan. But, by following some simple advice, parents, children, drivers and homeowners can all have a safe, enjoyable time.
Following are some trick-or-treating tips to keep in mind:
This year, Halloween falls on a school day, which means trick-or-treating is more likely to take place at dusk or later. If children are out at night, drivers need to be particularly careful at dusk and when driving either over a hill or around a curve, where visibility is limited. Use high beams to see and be seen.
Trick-or-treaters should always be accompanied by an adult or travel in a group. Children should be told not to eat any unwrapped candy or treats until they return home where their parents can see them. Making sure kids have already eaten before heading out may help.
Parents should incorporate reflective tape in costumes or add bright colors to increase visibility. Make-up rather than masks should be worn to help ensure children have an unobstructed view of their surroundings.
Trick-or-treaters may be caught up in the excitement of the day and not be as careful as they should. They should always cross at corners and look both ways before crossing. Drivers need to keep a careful eye on the road and on the sidewalk, in case anyone darts out from between parked cars.
Children should stay on the sidewalk or, if none is available, walk facing the lane of traffic, and carry a flashlight.
Homeowners should clear their yards of anything that can be tripped over and be sure to have a front door or walkway light on, and refrain from decorations that use an open flame that could ignite a childs costume.
A free brochure with more advice, Halloween Safety Tips, is available by calling 1-800-2TEACHERS or by visiting the Web site of www.teachers.com.
From the Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2005, issue