October 12, 2004 at 7:18 PM CDT - Updated July 2 at 3:30 AM
With Halloween just around the corner, parents and children need to know how to make good decisions when it comes to trick-or-treating. Costumes, candy, and trick-or-treating are all part of the Halloween tradition, but along with the fun come rules. Everyone must be aware of the "dos" and "don'ts" for making this holiday a safe one for your kids.
One of the most difficult decisions during Halloween may be picking out the best costume, but it is also important to pick one that fits. Before you grab just any costume off the rack, there are a few things you should look for, especially if you are shopping for a child.
"As far as costumes are concerned, we want to make sure that parents buy costumes that are flame resistant and that are not flammable," said Hal Stratton, chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. "So, you want to buy a costume that is made of polyester and not cotton. Next, we want to make sure that kids are using masks that have good visibility that they can see out of."
"When it comes to masks, children need to pick out one that fits. Often times, they are too big. That means children cannot see where they are going. We recommend children use face paint," said Greg Sowell, a community services officer for the Nacogdoches Police Department.
Even if your kids can see while they're out trick-or-treating, motorists may not be able to see them. That's why it's a good idea to use reflective tape or light colors on your child's costume. For parents like Darice Farris, safety is a must.
"We usually use the glow sticks or a light of some sort while they're trick or treating," said Farris. "We'll have one parent in the car, while the other one walks with them just to make sure they are safe."
"We like for children to wear reflective clothing and always carry a flashlight. We also recommend that children only trick-or-treat at homes that they know, or in their immediate neighborhood," said Sowell. It’s also a good idea to make sure there are fresh batteries in the flashlight.
For kids, the best part of Halloween may be the treats they receive, but trick-or-treat givers need to remember safety, as well.
"Only give away pre-packaged candy. Children should not take anything that has not been wrapped by a factory or manufacturer," said Officer Sowell.
Do not let your children eat their candy until it has been carefully inspected. Throw out any candy that is not wrapped.
One parent says she is always cautious on Halloween night.
"The first thing we tell our children is to not take candy from anyone unless we are there. We also make sure it is someone we know," said Tamara Elliott
Stratton says having parents involved always makes Halloween safer.
"I think, you know, relatively, it's pretty safe, and it's because, mainly, parents are involved and they are following the tips that we give them."
From the little children to the older ones, make sure this Halloween is a safe and enjoyable one.
-Originally reported by Wade Cameron and Jessica Cervantez Edited for KTRE.com by Rick Smith