Halloween is supposed to be spooky and scary, but make sure it’s “safe scary” for kids and pets. Neighbors who are veterans of past Halloweens tell scary tales of running out of candy after being inundated with trick or treaters, some who come from other neighborhoods to trick or treat on our friendly, side-walked, tree-lined streets, and others who are guests of fellow residents hosting a Halloween party. Maybe, since it’s a Wednesday night, there might be fewer trick or treaters swarming Larchmont Village, Windsor Square and Hancock Park. Regardless, if you are out and about, here are some safety tips to keep in mind on this Halloween eve.
Safety experts recommend that children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
The most popular time to trick or treat is from 5:30 to 9:30 pm. so be sure to drive carefully during those hours tonight. If you’re out walking, be sure to wear something reflective and carry a flashlight or glow stick so you can be seen.
Costumes should be creative and safe. SafeKids.com offers the following suggestions for costume safety:
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
- Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision
- Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
City Attorney Mike Feuer’s Office offered a few more suggestions:
- Remember to check all of your kids’ candy to make sure it isn’t unwrapped, spoiled or made with ingredients they’ may be allergic to – like peanuts or tree nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat.
- Only allow your kids to accept homemade items from people you know and trust.
- Smaller items like gum, hard candies or small toys can be choking hazards, so keep those away from younger children.
- Do not use decorative contact lenses without a prescription! Anyone selling them without requiring a prescription is doing so illegally. Improper use can cause pain, inflammation, allergic reactions, corneal scratches, conjunctivitis and other serious eye disorders and infections, which could lead to permanent vision loss. Only use these lenses after getting an eye exam and a valid prescription. See your eye doctor ASAP if you experience redness, eye pain or a decrease in vision. And remember, anime and circle lenses are not FDA-approved.
- Consider adding reflecting tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
- If a sword, cane or stick is part of the costume, make sure it’s not too sharp or too long.
- Watch for kids on the roads, medians and curbs and use extra caution entering and exiting driveways and alleys. And watch for kids in dark clothing.
- Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.
- To keep homes safe, remove from the porch and front yard anything a kid could trip over, like garden hoses, bikes or lawn decorations.
- Restrain pets so they won’t inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater or run away.
And here’s a good reminder — Silly String is banned in Hollywood. It makes the sidewalks and streets sticky and slimy, is very difficult and expensive to clean up and is terrible for the environment. LA Municipal Ordinance 56.02 prohibits the possession, use, or sale of Silly String and similar products in LAPD’s Hollywood Division between 12:00 am on October 31 and 12:00 pm on November 1. LAPD can cite users with an up to $1,000 fine.
Holiday festivities can be stressful and even dangerous for your pets, reminds LA Animal Services. Even normally mellow pets can be confused and spooked by strange sounds and sights and unfamiliar people in costumes. Here are some tips to help keep your four-legged loved ones safe:
- Keep pets indoors and away from front door. Have your companion animals stay in a room away from an open door when trick-or-treaters are visiting. Pets can become frightened by the “monsters” and “ghouls” causing them to panic and slip outside.
- Always make sure your pet has up-to-date identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar with a current license and/or ID tag on them and a microchip that’s registered with your contact information, will help reunite you with your companion animal.
- No sweet treats for your furry friend. Chocolate and other seemingly harmless ingredients can be poisonous to dogs and cats. Put candy where pets can’t get to them and dispose of the wrappers right away. Also, remember that children may not understand why Fluffy can’t share their treats, so use this as a teaching opportunity.
- Be careful around Jack-o’-lanterns. Tail wagging is a good thing – unless it’s done around a lit candle! Keep candles and lit craved pumpkins at an appropriate height where your pets can’t knock them over or get burned.
- Not all pets enjoy dressing up. A decorative collar is far more comfortable than a costume for your pet. Make sure your pet thinks a costume is as much fun as you do before you dress them up for Halloween.
If you do put your pet in a costume, try it on them before to make sure they are comfortable, check to make sure it will not get wrapped around his or her neck causing choking or get tangled around their legs.
By following these precautions, Halloween can be a fun and safe holiday instead of frightful for pets and people alike!