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Being Safe - Not Scared - This Halloween

"Trick or treat!"

That time of year is upon us once again - the night where little spooks and goblins visit our homes and ask us for candy.

Halloween is a billion-dollar business in the United States, growing in popularity each year. It's estimated that Americans will spend nearly seven billion dollars on the spooky holiday this year, a third of which will be candy sales. All those costumes and decorations and candy peak on October 31st, when doorbells will ring all over town with the familiar call: "trick or treat!"

To help make Halloween as safe and enjoyable as it can be, Gerling Law offers thesesafe Halloween tips courtesy of the Evansville Police Department:

Before Halloween

  • Make sure that costumes and wigs are flame resistant.
  • Choose light or brightly colored costumes making them more visible.
  • Know that masks can block or severely limit your child's vision. Consider costumes that do not require masks, using non-toxic make-up instead.
  • Consider using reflective tape or striping of some type on your child's costume and/or treat bag.
  • Be sure that shoes are comfortable and fit properly.
  • Have each child carry a flashlight with fresh batteries to use after it gets dark.
  • Discuss proper and appropriate behavior that you expect from your child before leaving the house.
  • Have a meeting point in case you and your child get separated.
  • Set a time for older children to return home.

Safety while trick-or-treating

  • Do not let your children eat any treats until you have checked them for safety.
  • Plan your child's route. Safer alternatives to neighborhood trick-or-treating are family parties, community sponsored events such as the Main St. trick-or-treat and the Mall, and Boo at the Zoo.
  • Travel in groups to be more visible and less of a target for criminals. Have parents with younger children at all times.
  • Leave all of your exterior lights on at your house.
  • Never enter a stranger's home.
  • Be cautious of all vehicular traffic.
  • Have your child tell you of any suspicious-acting people.

After trick-or-treating

  • Check all candy thoroughly before letting your child eat any. Check for loose wrappers and holes in any candy or wrapper.
  • Do not eat homemade treats unless you know and trust the person who gave it to your child.
  • While at home handing out treats, don't open the door for anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable and never let strangers inside your home.

Candy Safety

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We've all heard the warnings about candy that's been tampered with, and while some of those stories are urban legends, it never hurts to be cautious about such things.Many area police and fire departments, as well as hospitals, offer free candy checks on Halloween to help ease parents' minds about the treats their kids bring home. One area of concern that may not get as much airplay is candy that contains allergens - such as peanuts or gluten - that can cause health issues for those with food allergies. The good news is, there are lots of treats that those with food allergies can consume, so if you're handing out candy, you might want to have a stash of allergy-free candy on hand. But not all Halloween treats need to be candy-based. The non-profit group Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) has created a campaign called The Teal Pumpkin Project, encouraging non-food treats. Participating households can place a teal-painted pumpkin at their home as a signal to allergic trick-or-treaters that their house is handing out allergy-safe goodies. There are plenty of non-edible treat ideasout there that can be found with a quick internet search if you'd like to participate in this project.

Halloween is meant to be fun and enjoyable, but it also means being careful and safe while you enjoy the evening. Gerling Law hopes that all your little ghouls and goblins have fun on the spookiest night of the year!

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