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Tips For A Safe Halloween

For many children, Halloween is the most exciting night of the year. But, it can also be one of the most dangerous.

The Saturday Early Show's Dr. Mallika Marshall says it doesn't have to be a frightening night if parents and their little ghosts and goblins follow some simple safety tips.

In many families, both parents work, which means they may not have enough time to adequately plan for Halloween night. Dr. Marshall, however, advises to plan ahead and take precautions to keep the kids safe.

Dr. Marshall says there are three items you shouldn't go trick or treating without: a cell phone, a flash light and reflectors.

  • Cell Phone
    If any kind of emergency occurs, you want to be able to get help immediately. Dr. Marshall says you don't want to have to rely on going into a neighbor's house to use the phone. She says the cell phone is a good way to keep track of teenage trick-or-treaters, who may be off on their own.
  • Flashlight
    Dr. Marshall says a little flashlight attached to a key chain just won't cut it. Equip your kids with a powerful flashlight that brightly illuminates the road ahead of them.
  • Reflectors
    It's also a good idea to wear a glow-in-the-dark necklace, Marshall says. Your child may fight you on this because it doesn't go with the costume, but safety should always be the first priority.

Dr. Marshall suggested the following tips for a safe trick or treat night:

  • Walk against traffic
    It's best to use sidewalks if there are any. But if you live in an area where there are no sidewalks, have the children walk against traffic. This allows them to see cars that are coming towards them.
  • Never trick or treat alone
    Older children sometimes like to trick-or-treat alone or walk alone to where a group of their friends are trick-or-treating. Dr. Marshall says this is not a good idea because children can get lost easily in the dark.
  • Trick-or-treat only in familiar areas
    Some children are tempted to go to areas where they've heard there is good candy or a part of town where all the houses are close together. Dr. Marshall says this is fine if you know the area, but if you are unfamiliar with the area, then you should probably stay away. She advises to go trick-or-treating at the homes of people you know. And you want to be as close to home as possible if there is any kind of emergency.

Costume safety is also very important. Dr. Marshall says safe costumes should have:

  • Large eye openings
    Remember it's dark when you are trick-or-treating so your child is already at a disadvantage. Don't make it worse by buying a costume with small eye slits. Make sure eye openings are large enough so that your kids can see to the side without having to turn their heads very far.
  • Bright colors
    Marshall says the brighter the costume the better. You want motorists to see your child clearly, so avoid costumes that are very dark. If your child does insist on wearing a dark costume, make sure to give him or her a reflector.
  • Snug fit
    Costumes that are too baggy can cause your child to trip. And excess clothing can also get stuck in car doors. So, Dr. Marshall suggests you make sure the costume is snug without being too tight. You want to be sure not to cut off your child's circulation.