Nixa Hardware

Keep your little ghosts and goblins safe on Halloween

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At a certain age, it perhaps wise just to stay home on Halloween

At a certain age, it perhaps wise just to stay home on Halloween

While Halloween is a favorite holiday for most families with young children, it does pose several safety risks. Children younger than 12 should be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult while trick-or-treating. Older children should trick-or-treat with a group, not alone.

The Springfield Fire Department, Police Department and Public Works Department offer the following tips to keep kids safe this All Hallows’ Eve.

Pedestrian/Candy Safety

Make sure masks don’t restrict vision and costumes don’t present a tripping hazard. Masks should be removed before crossing the street or children should hold hands with an adult.

  • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags.
  • Teens should be discouraged from driving on Halloween. There are too many hazards and distractions for inexperienced drivers.
  • Always walk – don’t run – from house to house. Halloween is prime opportunity for families to practice safe street crossing.
  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.
  • Costumes should fit well and not pose tripping hazards.
  • Stay on familiar, well-lighted sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic. Use crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Look for cars when walking by a driveway.
  • Never accept rides from strangers or enter a stranger’s home while trick-or-treating.
  • Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials.
  • Insist that all treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten and stick to commercially packed treats.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Motorists should slow down, be on the lookout for pedestrians and avoid using their cell phone.Avoid passing stopped cars, as children are likely to exit the vehicle.

Fire and Health Safety

  • Buy costumes and wigs labeled “flame resistant.” Stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
  • It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in a jack-o’-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution.
  • Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn, and far enough out of way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • Keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop, cover their face and roll if their clothing catches fire.

Keep your carved Jack-o-Lantern looking fresh with this recipe

  • Pumpkins light up the night on Halloween. To keep your pumpkin fresh longer after carving, dip the freshly carved Jack-o-Lantern in a gallon of water with a teaspoon of bleach to kill bacteria. Drain and add two tablespoons of vinegar and one teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water, brushing the solution onto your pumpkins to help keep it looking fresh for weeks. LED lights will keep your creation shining for several hours, much more safely than a candle.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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