Halloween is again upon us.
It’s the time of year when little kids dress up like princesses and pirates while the older kids dress up in more theme-oriented costumes as Lindsay Lohan or Quagmire from “Family Guy.“ (Whatever floats the boat, right?)
Every year we look at Halloween safety, and every year dole out the same advice: be a parent.
I get comments every year saying we shouldn’t give out the same advice each and every year, that they know all the safety tips for kids. They want something new — like there’s some new strain of Halloween risks out there we should be aware of.
The reason we repeat what you probably already know is because there are a lot of parents out there who don’t do the basics and send the kids out there without a clue of what those basics are. That’s why God gave us Family and Children Services.
Believe it or not, some kids get sent out by parents who toss them a bag and say, “See you at 10.” My hope is that I’ll hit the basics and you guys will take over in this blog’s comments section and expand on it. Tell us what you do, what works and what didn’t in the past.
The basics of Halloween safety:
1. A good old-fashioned sit-down-and-listen session on where, when and everything in between.
2. I love teenagers. I have several distributed throughout the country. This night, however, belongs to mom and dad or mom and step-dad, or vice-versa, or mom and steady boyfriend – but not the one she just met who has “LOVE” tattooed across his four fingers. Make sure the chaperones are responsible. You know what I’m saying: just make sure the chaperone isn’t distracted by the 18-year-old in the Lindsay Lohan costume.
3. Flashlights should be distributed. New batteries go in the flashlight; don’t assume the ones in there are still good.
4. Go in groups that have an even distribution of parents with them. Don’t forget that when it gets dusk and then dark, a lot of the kids start to look alike, so don’t hit the adult beverages too soon.
5. If the house isn’t lit, they probably don’t want you there.
6. Go to the door, but not inside.
7. Will your little dude or dudette be wearing a mask? Once they haul in the goods and leave the doorway, have them take off the mask so they can see where they’re walking. In place of a mask, I’d go with face paint or something else.
8. Small kids should get out there before dark. It’s a better picture for the camera anyway.
9. Emily Post says the unwritten rule for quitting time on trick or treat is 9’ish. After about 9, your group should be in. Don’t forget, Monday is a work and school day. Those of you with teenagers, put a time limit on when to be back. Be fair but practical. Nine is the new curfew because that’s when “Desperate Housewives” comes on TV. Don’t expect Detective Sandy to answer the door. She’s devoted to that show — so much so that she has the Taser rigged to automatically fire at 9 if the doorbell rings.
(Emily Post didn’t really say that.)
10. Drive slowly!
11. A word about sex offenders. These folks usually spend the night out, away from the trick or treating if at all possible. Personally, I don’t recall any incidents involving registered sex offenders enticing trick or treaters. Nonetheless, , I would still log on and locate the homes of any registered sex offenders in your immediate area. Write the addresses down and tell your group so that you avoid those homes. A good site is familywatchdog.us.
12. Then we have zombies. Like sex offenders, we all know they exist. The normal way of killing zombies is by shooting them 30 to 50 times with an AR-15. Given the price of ammo, this may not be a practical approach for your family. Another sure way of killing them is carrying around a photo of the cast of “Real Atlanta Housewives.” When approached by zombies, show the photo, smartly illuminated by your flashlight. They drop dead in their tracks.
Like I said, these are just the basics. What I would like you guys to do is give us your suggestions and tips for Halloween safety.