Be safe out there: Trick-or-treating tips

It’s here, the one night of the year that it’s OK for children to go door knocking at strangers’ homes in search of treats. A dastardly few are no doubt plotting tricks.

But before suiting up your wee ones or releasing your older children to the jack-o-lantern–lined streets this evening, there are a few things to keep in mind. Halloween can turn horrible if you or your kids aren’t prepared. So courtesy of the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct, here are a few tips that’ll help your little goblins stay safe and give you some peace of mind tonight.

– Plan ahead for emergency situations. Plan a safe walking route on well-lit streets. Secure emergency identification to you child’s costume. Make sure your kids know their own phone number and how to dial 911.

– Be aware of your visibility. Remember that dark colors can make your child difficult to see at night. A fully charged flashlight, glow sticks or reflectors are all good items to have while trick-or-treating.

– Know where a McGruff House or other safe place is in your neighborhood. McGruff Houses are safe spots for children and can be identified by their large yellow and black signs with a picture of McGruff the Crime Dog on them. Learn where these houses are ahead of time or choose another safe location along the route that your children can go to should there be an emergency.

– Trick-or-treat in groups. Make sure your children are with you or at least one adult that you know and trust. Keep your group together and have a plan for what to do if someone is separated.

– Mind the jack-o-lanterns. Long or loose fitting costumes can catch fire if they get too close to a jack-o-lantern. Make sure your kids know how to stop, drop and roll if this happens.

– Check your child’s candy before they dig in. You’ve all heard this before. The last thing you want to find out is that your child chomped down on a needle or got sick from something they got trick-or-treating. Go through your child’s loot and be wary of unwrapped or homemade candy, unless you know where it came from.

For more tips, check out www.ncpc.org/about/Halloween.php.