Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays for kids of all ages. When else do children get an excuse to dress in outrageous get-ups, run around soliciting neighbors for goodies, stay up past their bedtimes and gorge themselves with candy? It only happens once a year!
This night of lighthearted fun can sometimes lead to mischievous, even dangerous activities. Knowing proper safety techniques and setting guidelines for your kids assures that no accidents will dampen the holiday spirit.
Maracay Homes, a Valley developer and Blythe Sweeney, a local safety expert, recently teamed up to help kids stay safe this season. They offer these seven important safety tips to all trick-or-treaters and their parents:
1. Know the route your kids will be taking if you aren’t going with them.
2. The best bet is to make sure that an adult is present. If you can’t take them, see if another parent or a teen-aged sibling can go along.
3. Know what other activities a child may be attending, such as parties, school or mall functions.
4. Make sure you set a time to be home by. Make sure children know how important it is for them to be home on time.
5. Explain to children the difference between tricks and vandalism. Throwing eggs at a house may seem like fun but they need to know the other side of the coin as well, clean up and damages can ruin Halloween. If they are caught vandalizing, make them clean up the mess they’ve made.
6. Explain to your kids that animal cruelty is not acceptable. Kids may know this on their own, but peer pressure can be a bad thing. Make sure they know that harming animals is not only morally wrong, but punishable by law and will not be tolerated.
7. To help prevent children from munching, give them a snack or light meal before they go, don’t send them out on an empty stomach.
The Phoenix Police Department is the city’s No. 1 safety advocate, and has tips for little ghouls and goblins to adhere by:
• Only approach houses that are lit.
• Stay away from animals (pets) that you do not know.
• Carry a flashlight.
• Walk, don’t run.
• Stay on sidewalks.
• Cross streets in groups and look for cars.
• Stay in familiar neighborhoods.
• Parents should inspect candy for signs of tampering before it is eaten.
For costumes and disguises, the PPD recommends…
• Make sure costumes do not drag on the ground.
• Be sure kids can see with masks on.
• Shoes should fit (even if they do not go with the costume).
• Carry only flexible knives, swords or other props.
• Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape/or use glow sticks.
Where to go
Need to find a place to trick-or-treat? Check out these local venues for a fun, safe alternative or addition to neighborhood trick-or-treating.
• The Phoenix Zoo is hosting its annual Howl-O-Ween at the Zoo event on Oct. 30 and 31 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The event will include DJ music, ghostly storytelling, outdoor movies, trick-or-treating and more. Admission is $6, $8 for non-zoo members, free for ages 2 and younger. Guests are encouraged to come dressed in costume.
The zoo is located at 455 N. Galvin Parkway in Phoenix. Visit phoenixzoo.org for more details.
• The Phoenix Symphony presents “Trick-or-Treat,” a special one-day concert on Oct. 31 featuring music from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Ghostbusters, and Fantasia. Children are invited to see the orchestra play and participate in pre-concert activities, including a meet-and-greet with the Arizona Ghostbusters and a costume contest. Activities start at 1:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $18 and can be purchased by calling the Phoenix Symphony Box Office at (602) 495-1999 or by visiting www.phoenixsymphony.org.
Symphony Hall is located at 75 N. Second St. in Phoenix.
Visit Ahwatukee.com for a calendar of even more Halloween events.
Reflective dots help keep kids safe this Halloween
Maracay Homes is handing out free reflective stickers called “Halloween Hot Dots” for kids to wear on their costumes at night.
Parents can apply the special safety reflectors directly to Halloween costumes so children will shine with oncoming headlights during nighttime trick-or-treat activities.
Now through Oct. 31, residents can pick-up the free Halloween Hot Dots at any Maracay Homes community. Go to maracayhomes.com/holiday/halloween to find the closest location near you.
Leslie D’Ambrosio is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.