Safety tips for playing it safe this Halloween

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 29, 2005

With Greenville's official trick-or-treating time just around the corner, it's time to remind everyone the importance of following Halloween safety tips.

The siren will sound at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31 to signal the start of trick-or-treat and sound again at 8 p.m. to signal its end.

Here are some important safety tips for the little ghosts and goblins to follow:

n Watch for traffic. &#8220Children need to stay out of the streets and keep an eye on cars. Look both ways before crossing the street,” Greenville Police Chief Lonzo Ingram said.


Walk with a grownup. &#8220Young children should always have an adult accompany them,” Ingram said.


Always carry a flashlight.


Wear light-colored or reflective-type clothing. &#8220Definitely put some type of reflective tape on their costume, it will make them a lot more visible,” Ingram said.


Keep those eyes open. &#8220Make sure their masks fit properly so they don't obstruct their visibility,” Ingram said. Face paint is also a good alternative to masks.


Avoid dangerous props. &#8220If the kids are going to carry any type of prop with them, make sure it is made of something soft like foam rubber, rather than wood or metal,” Ingram said.


Stay in the neighborhood. &#8220Stick with your own neighborhood and familiar places you know are safe. Don't visit houses that are dark” Ingram said.


Inspect all candy. &#8220Make sure the children know not to eat any candy before you have looked over it. Tell them to accept only wrapped or packaged treats,” Ingram said.

n Keep away from open fires or candles. Costumes can be extremely flammable.

Don't forget your four-legged friends when planning for a safe holiday. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has the following suggestions to protect your pet this Halloween:

n Don't leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween. There are plenty of stories of vicious pranksters who have teased, injured, stolen, or even killed pets on this night.

n Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets. Chocolate is poisonous to a lot of animals, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed.

n Be careful of pets around a lit pumpkin. Pets may knock it over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned.

n Don't dress the dog in costume unless you know he loves it. Otherwise, it puts a lot of stress on the animal.

n If you do dress up your dog, make sure the costume isn't constricting, annoying or unsafe. Be careful not to obstruct your pet's vision. Even the sweetest dogs can get snappy if they can't see what is going on around them.

n All but the most social dogs should be kept in a separate room during trick-or-treating hours. Too many strange folks in strange garb can be scary for a dog. &#8220It's best to avoid a potential problem by keeping the pet away from all the goings-on,” Ingram said.

n Be careful your cat or dog doesn't dash through an open door.

Remember, pets and children depend on &#8220big folks” to keep them safe during the Halloween season.