Be safe and enjoy tonight’s fun and frights
Houses are lit up orange. Lawns are decorated with plastic tombstones, synthetic spider webs and ghoulish creatures, some who speak to us as we approach, some who are just meant to look scary, and others who are simply there to elicit a chuckle and entertain us. It must be Halloween. Tonight, many homeowners in Charles County will wait with their porch lights on for trick-or-treaters who come in search of those ritual candy bars and and other goodies. Some little ones have already stocked up on sweets at church and other organizations’ trunk-or-treats held over the past couple of weeks. But tonight is generally considered the big one, a major sugar haul.
From Wonder Woman to witches, to characters from the popular video game Fortnite, expect to find kids of all ages taking to the streets and knocking on neighbors’ doors, hoping to get a sugary treat to add to their growing bag of Halloween goodies.
If you’re driving this evening, look out for any potential trick-or-treaters. Be especially mindful of crosswalks and corners, and take things slow within neighborhoods, particularly where parked cars line the side of the road. You never know when an excited child might dart out into the roadway.
But drivers aren’t the only ones responsible for ensuring Charles County kids enjoy a safe and happy Halloween. Parents of trick-or-treaters can also take safety precautions.
In fact, the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office offers the following tips for families:
Pick costumes that are bright and reflective and short enough to prevent tripping. Ensure masks don’t block kids’ vision. For darker costumes — and even for lighter costumes — consider adding reflective tape for greater visibility when kids are walking along the roadside. Better still, the State Highway Administration also offers reflective vests through its “Vests for Visibility” program. Vests can be borrowed from the Maryland Department of Transportation La Plata shop on Washington Avenue in La Plata from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will be handed out on a first-come, firstserved basis, and should be returned by Friday, Nov. 2.
In addition, guardians of trick-ortreaters should provide youngsters with flashlights or glow sticks to carry for lighting, and always supervise them during trick-or-treating. If walking with the family dog, consider adding reflective material to the leash.
“Planning ahead can help make this and every Halloween fire safe,” State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci added in a press release. “Taking simple fire and life safety precautions, like making sure fabrics for costumes and decorative materials are flame-resistant, can prevent fires and avoid needless burn injuries.”
The fire marshal also has safety suggestions for those who are staying at home to hand out sweets. Use flashlights or glow sticks as alternatives to candles or incandescent lights when decorating walkways or yards, as these items are safer for trick-ortreaters whose costumes may brush against the decoration. Use battery-operated candles as opposed to flame candles inside the home as well, and do not overload electrical outlets and extension cords when plugging in all the fun and frightening decor.
If everyone, from drivers to candy collectors to candy givers, follows these tips for a safe Halloween, we can collectively help to make sure the youngest among us enjoy this classic, spook-tacular night without incident.