Christmas Holiday Tips
Here are some tips to help celebrate safely this holiday season…
Homes jam packed with glittering gifts. Stores, malls and downtown streets teeming with unsuspecting shoppers. People rushing around, stressed out and careless, looking for last-minute gifts. It’s enough to make a crook giddy with holiday joy.
If you’re shopping…
- Stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you.
- Park in a well-lighted space and be sure to lock the car, close the windows and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
- Deter pickpockets and pursesnatchers. Don’t overburden yourself with packages. Carry a purse close to your body. Put your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket.
- Teach children to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
If you’re out for the evening…
- · Turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someone’s home. DON’T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF LEAVING LIGHTS ON THAT YOU NEVER USE OR LEAVE ON. Doing this is often an attention grabber to others that something is different than as is someone were home. Example: All inside lights out and all outside lights on.
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from outside.
Playing it Safe on Halloween
POINTERS FOR PARENTS
Halloween may be a fun holiday for kids, but for parents, trick-or-treat time can be a little troublesome. Concerns about children’s safety – whether they are out in the neighborhood or back at home with bountiful bags of goodies – can cast a spell on the evening’s festivity. But not to worry! Following a few safety tips will ensure that Halloween will be a “howling” good time for all.
“UNHAUNTING” YOUR HOUSE AND NEIGHBORHOOD
- Welcome trick-or-treaters at home by turning on your exterior lights.
- Remove objects from your yard that might present a hazard to visitors.
- Ask you Neighborhood Watch or citizen’s group to patrol the community.
- Involve students from a local college or university to be “witch’s helpers.” These students help trick-or-treaters cross busy streets and watch out for ghoulish behavior.
- Drive slowly all evening – you never know what creature may suddenly cross your path.
- Report any suspicious or criminal activity to your local police or sheriff’s department.
Parents and kids can avoid trick-or-treating troubles entirely by organizing a Halloween costume party with treats, games, contests, music, scary stories, and much more. Make your Halloween party the place to be! Schools, fire stations, libraries, even malls in many communities organize “haunted houses” and other festivities for families.
MAKING SAFE COSTUMES
- Check that costumes are flame-retardant so the little one’s aren’t in danger near candlelit jack-o-lanterns and other fire hazards.
- Keep costumes short to prevent trips, falls, and other bumps in the night.
- Encourage kids to wear comfortable shoes.
- Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks can be hot and uncomfortable and, more importantly, they can obstruct a child’s vision – a dangerous thing when kids are crossing streets and going up and down steps.
- Make sure kids wear light colors or put reflective tape on their costumes.
DRESSED UP AND DANGEROUS?
Halloween blood and gore are harmless stuff for the most part. But sometimes dressing up as a superhero, a scary monster, or a slimy alien from outerspace – coupled with the excitement of Halloween – brings out aggressive behavior. Even fake knives, swords, and guns and other costume accessories can accidentally hurt people. If these objects are part of a child’s costume, make sure they are made from cardboard or other flexible materials. Better yet, challenge kids to create costumes that don’t need “weapons” to be scary or fun.
PREPARING GHOSTS AND GOBLINS FOR THEIR TRICKS AND TREATS
Make sure older kids go out with friends. Younger children should be accompanied by an adult. If you live in a rural area offer all kids a ride in the car.
Set a time limit for children to trick-or-treat. Together, map out a safe route so you know where they’ll be. Remind them not to take short cuts through backyards, alleys, or playing fields.
Remind kids not to enter a strange house or car.
Try to get kids to trick-or-treat while it is still light out. If it is dark, make sure a couple of people are carrying flashlights that work.
PRANKS THAT CAN BE A LITTLE TRICKY
Halloween is notoriously a night of pranks – toilet papering a house or filling mailboxes with shaving cream are not unusual. Try to get a handle on your children’s plans before they go out. Explain to them that while you want them to have a good time, some tricks could hurt other children or vandalize property. Emphasize that your disapprove of vandalism.
EATING THE TREATS
Kids need to know not to eat their treats until they get home. One way to keep trick-or-treaters from digging in while they’re still out is to feed them a meal or substantial snack beforehand.
Check out all treats at home in a well-lighted place.
What to eat? Only unopened candies that other treats that are in original wrappers. Don’t forget to inspect fruit and homemade goodies for anything suspicious. By all means, remind kids not to eat everything at once or they’ll be feeling pretty ghoulish for awhile.
No Scary Driving this Halloween– Keep Trick-or-Treaters Safe
On Halloween, your neighborhood will literally be swarming with children, and it’s your job to be sure they take their treats home safely. Trick-or-treating, a fun-filled activity that little ghosts and goblins look forward to each October, can quickly turn into a night of horror if someone is hurt.
For motorists, the scariest part of Halloween are children dressed in dark colors and in costumes that cover their eyes out walking on streets and roadways at dusk when many adults are still driving home from work.
Sadly, Halloween is a dangerous night. While excited trick-or-treaters may forget the rules ofthe road and be oblivious to the hazards, we, as motorists must be vigilant. The CDC found that the number of deaths among young pedestrians (ages 5-14) is four times higher on Halloween evening than any other evening of the year. Data from the USDOT shows that:
Fatal collisions between motor vehicles and young pedestrians (under 15 years of age) happen most frequently between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. – prime trick-or-treating time. 84% of deaths among young pedestrians occurred at non-intersection locations (indicating children are most likely to dart and dash from mid-block into the street). Halloween is also one of the year’s most dangerous holidays on the road due to alcohol-related crashes caused by those who drink and drive after parties and festivities. Two-thirds of all highway fatalities at Halloween are alcohol-related. Don’t even think about getting behind the wheel if you’re impaired.
To help everyone bring home treats – not tragedies – follow these tips for a safe Halloween:
- Don’t use a cell phone while driving through neighborhoods. A single distraction could lead to a tragedy.
- Stay well below the posted speed limit.
- Pay attention to what’s happening on sidewalks and roadways. Watch for children darting across streets, especially between parked cars.
- Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.
- Do not assume children can see you or are paying attention. You need to take that responsibility.
- Drivers should also check that all lights on their car work.
- Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.
- If you’re driving a group of children, but staying in the running vehicle at the curb, be sure to put on your hazard lights to alert other motorists.
- And if you’re driving to a Halloween party, put that mask on after you park the car.
Parents can help motorists, too:
- Make sure drivers can see the children. Give them flashlights and glow sticks. Dress kids in bright, reflective clothing or use reflective tape on their costumes.
- Use makeup, rather than masks, so children have a clear, unobstructed view of their surroundings.
- Be sure children know how to cross a street — look left, right and left again before crossing.
- Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.
- Accompany your children as they trick or treat.