Safety while trick or treating
“Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite, All are on their rounds tonight;
In the wan moon’s silver ray, Thrives their helter-skelter play.”
When Joel Benton wrote his poem about Halloween, he reminisced about the play, fun, pranks and mischief done back in the era we know as days gone by. Pranks ranging from kids using peashooters against neighbours who didn’t give candy to tying cans to police cars to disrupt the peace, or even the favourite of older teens - moving the outhouse, usually one of a friend who didn’t come out with them that night. The scariest thing about Halloween was washing the front of your house the next day or for the unlucky few, finding out the outhouse was now 10 feet further back on the path than the hole.
Times have changed since then. We know there are real potential dangers that we all can help reduce. You have heard them before but why not review them before Halloween night?
Make your house Halloween friendly. When you are shelling out treats, light up your house to let the trick or treaters know they are welcome there. Make sure they have a well-lit path to your door, making sure all tripping or slipping hazards are removed (porch chairs, wet leaves on stairs, jack-o-lanterns all off to one side). Consider possible food allergies when choosing what treats to give.
Keep the streets Halloween friendly. Don’t do any unnecessary driving that night. When you do have to drive, be extra attentive. That child off to the right of you could dart out without a moment’s notice. You need to be their eyes and ears. When you are out with your own children, keep an eye out for others around you. Make sure none of them are in distress. Never hesitate to use 911 to call for assistance if it becomes necessary.
Remember all the warnings regarding costumes for your children. If you are buying a costume, fire resistant costumes will have labels that say they are. Choose face makeup over a mask which can hamper both vision and breathing. Regardless of the child’s wants, dress them for the weather. October 31st is not typically ideal beach weather. Snow or rain (sometimes both) are more likely to occur. Ensure they can be seen in the dark, either by selecting lighter costumes or use reflective tape.
If your child is old enough to venture out without you, make sure they are going out as part of a group. Know who they are going to be with, the route they plan on taking and tell them when you expect them to be back home. Remind them of the rules of the road and not to cross back and forth across the street but complete one side then cross and go down the other. If they don’t have their own cellphone, give them yours for the night. Ensure they know how and when to use it.
Remember to make sure all treats are inspected before your children partake.
These may be some hard rules for our times, but if we follow them, our children will grow to have nothing but fond memories of their own days gone by.
All three Cumberland County Community Health Boards are currently looking for new members.
Bill Schurman and Linda Cloney are the SOAR co-chairs, Terri Ashley is the SPAR chair and the Pugwash and area chairwoman is Joyce Gray.
For more information and about the board, their meetings or to learn how you can become a member please contact Colleen Dowe at 902-397-0376 or Colleen.email@example.com.
From left, Leah McLean, Ronan Lair and Teaghan Lair are ready for Halloween.