Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween: Safety & Etiquette

This post is a bit off the Cleaning Up the Clutter topic, but with Halloween just days away, I thought it was timely. I've written about Halloween Safety before at Holidays Central, but I don't see too much about Halloween etiquette on the Internet. For that matter, sometimes I see a Halloween safety article that's over the top. Common sense should be the rule of Halloween evening.

Here's a few practical Halloween safety tips for trick or treating with kids:

1. Carry a flashlight. If you're trick or treating in a neighborhood that doesn't have street lights or sidewalks, it's a good idea to bring at least one flashlight with the group.

2. Be visible. A flashlight will help with the visibility factor, but kids and adults dressed in dark costumes or clothing should add some reflective tape to the costume. A strip of tape on the back and front of each leg will make the costume visible to traffic in areas that don't have sidewalks. 

3. Go over the rules for safely crossing the street with children. Remind them to look both ways and wait until all traffic has cleared. Kids can be impulsive and excited on Halloween. Getting hit by a car is a much bigger Halloween risk than eating tainted candy.

In addition to safety, keep these etiquette tips in mind on Halloween night:

1. Don't trick or treat at houses if the porch or outdoor light is off. The outdoor light tends to be the universal signal that a house is open to trick or treaters or not. Some people choose not to participate in Halloween. If the light is not on, don't let your kids ring the doorbell.

2. Don't let your kids trick anyone. Toilet paper, eggs and other Halloween tricks are mean spirited and shouldn't be a part of the night. It's rare that I hear about this kind of behavior on Halloween anymore. It used to be a staple of Halloween when I was a kid, but in this day and age, it's really not cool. Heck, it wasn't then. We just didn't know better. 

How to deal with Halloween candy clutter:

After Halloween, we've got a slew of candy. All the good stuff (i.e. the Sweetarts, candy bars, Jr. Mints, M&Ms, etc.) get eaten within the week. Then, we're left with the things no one likes. In our house, no one likes the Mary Janes, the Atomic Fire Balls or the Halloween pretzels. Whatever's left after a week or two gets thrown away. There's no need to feel guilty and save it. What would we save it for? Either you waste it in the garbage or you waste it on your body. Or, it clutters up valuable space.

Keep Halloween fun for the kids by keeping your common sense. Practice safe trick or treating, be polite and get rid of candy clutter as soon as possible.

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