Get your little ghouls and goblins ready for Halloween

Most local towns limit trick or treating to between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
By Mike McGann, Editor,

Pocopson Elementary principal Dr. Andrew McLaughlin (dressed as a very cold Fred Flinstone) leads the 2010 Halloween Parade at the school, Friday morning. Using common sense, we can help make this a safe and happy Halloween for all.

It’s the time of year where ghosts, goblins and superheroes roam our streets — and while all four local elementary schools kicked off the Halloween weekend with student parades, a few reminders about Sunday night:

Most local towns limit hours, typically between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., on Halloween for trick or treaters to go door to door. Also don’t forget: Daylight Savings Time does NOT end this weekend — although there’s been a lot confusion about that of late, it ends next weekend. When Halloween falls on a weekend, it can confuse what is or isn’t appropriate — and parents, especially of younger children, might be tempted to take their kids out early, but you may find few homes ready for your costumed little ones before 6 p.m.

If you’re out driving Sunday — even in the afternoon — be especially on the lookout for kids. With the excitement of costumes (and candy) kids can be easily distracted and might not notice you or your car. Take extra care and drive a bit slower than usual, just to add an increased margin of safety.

There’s a few common sense things parents can do to help keep their kids safe:

1. Make sure your kids are wearing brightly-colored costumes — but if your child insists on being Darth Vader or a zombie, make sure they have a working light with fresh batteries. Brightly colored and/or reflective trick-or-treat bags are a sneaky way for parents to work around the dark costume issue — keeping everyone happy.

2. Accompany kids if possible — just one adult with a small tribe of trick or treaters makes the night safer for everyone. Older kids are likely to resist this, but it’s worth a shot.

3. Lay out ground rules: if you can’t go out with your kid, make sure you know where he or she is going and when they are expected home. Older kids going out without an adult should probably carry a cell phone.

4. Make sure kids know not to eat from their bags before they get home — always make sure a parent or adult takes time to inspect all trick-or-treat items before kids consume them. While it’s likely everything your kids will collect in the Unionville area will be perfectly safe (excess for the excess sugar), this one falls under the better safe than sorry category.

5. Make sure your home is well lit and a path to your front door is clearly marked. Make sure there isn’t excessive debris or decorations — remember, kids may have limited vision because of masks and may be easy to trip because of long costumes. If possible, clear leaves, so everyone can see the ground along the path to your doorway.

6. Avoid overly scary displays. Remember, that in addition to teens and tweens who might appreciate such scary or frightening displays, there will also be preschoolers and toddlers coming to your door. Use a little common sense — if you think a display is so scary it will make little ones cry, its probably not a good idea.

7. Keep the kids in on mischief night. While shaving cream and toilet paper might seem innocent, numerous misunderstandings have occurred, with deadly results — not to mention the real damage throwing of eggs and other items can cause. Already one of the busiest nights of the year for local and State Police, don’t let your kids add to what could be a dangerous night. Be sure to lock your car doors, just in case.

With a little forethought and a dollop of common sense, Halloween can be fun and safe for everyone.

Feel free to email all of your extra Skittles to

Happy Halloween!

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