By Col. Jason W. Condrey
Commander, USAG Stuttgart
Keeping safety in mind will make this Halloween a howling-good time.
Halloween lurks around the corner, and little ghosts and goblins will soon haunt the housing area communities for trick or treats. The tradition of wearing costumes comes from early European and Celtic customs where costumes were worn to ward off evil spirits.
Today, the right costume can help ward off accidents. It is important to select a costume made from non-flammable or flame-retardant materials and short enough not to become a tripping hazard. Costumes and treat bags should be light in color or made with reflective materials. If a mask is worn, it should have nose and mouth holes to provide adequate ventilation and large eyeholes that do not hinder visibility. If makeup is used, select a brand that is made with approved color additives and is non-toxic. Knives and swords and other costume accessories should be made of cardboard or flexible materials to prevent puncture wounds or injuries.
Parents have an enormous role ensuring the safety of their children. Keeping Halloween safe does not have to be a trick if the following tips are kept in mind. Before trick-or-treaters embark on their night of haunting fun, parents should know what route their children will take and who will accompany them. Children should be encouraged to travel in familiar areas, carry a flashlight, only visit houses that are well lit and never enter houses of people they do not know. An adult or older youth should supervise young children at all times. To prevent encountering hazards that might cause trips and falls, the leading causes of Halloween-related injuries, instruct children to never cut across yards, but to use sidewalks when traveling from house to house. If a sidewalk is not available, they should walk, not run, on the left side of the road where approaching traffic is visible. After trick-or-treaters return home, parents should inspect all goodies for anything suspicious. Wash and cut all fruit into small slices, and items that cause doubt should be properly disposed of.
Motorists have an important role in Halloween safety too. Operators must watch for children in dark costumes and pedestrians around driveways, sidewalks, dodging from between parked cars and in the street.
Halloween can be a good time if safety is foremost. Parents, motorists and little ghosts and goblins all play an integral part in keeping Halloween safe. Please follow these safety tips so All-Hallows Eve will not come back to haunt you.
Have a safe Halloween.