In Kids & Family

It's OK for trick-or-treat to be scary, but not too scary.

Trick-or-treat safety tips for a happy Halloween

Because Halloween falls on a weekend this year, almost every community will host trick-or-treating on Saturday, Oct. 31. In Milwaukee, the crazy candy extravaganza is from 1 to 4 p.m.

The trick-or-treat experience varies from kid to kid. For some, going door to door for candy is a dream come true, but for other little people, the all-in-good-fun spookiness is very scary.

Regardless of how your little ghosties interpret the particulars of All Hallow's Eve, it's important that everyone is safe.

"Even when I was a kid, people were afraid of getting an apple with a razor blade in it," says Milwaukee's Jennifer Riley. "No one gives out apples these days, but there are a host of new things to worry about."

Here are a few safety procedures to keep in mind this weekend so everyone in your ghoulish brood stays safe.

Do not let your kids trick-or-treat alone. This is probably a no-brainer for most parents, but worth restating. Even if you live in a traditionally safe neighborhood, tag along with your trick-or-treaters or send an older sibling along just to be sure.

Consider hosting a party during trick-or-treat time. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just open your home during the scheduled trick-or-treat time. Bob for apples, carve pumpkins and hand out some candy, yes candy, so no one feels like they're missing out on anything by not going door to door.

Be careful with jack-o-lanterns. Do not leave pumpkins burning unattended, and if you have them on your porch steps, make sure there is enough room for kids in cape or gowns to pass by without accidentally setting themselves on fire.

Buy the appropiate tools for pumpkin carving. The mini "saws" sold specifically for pumpkin carving are much safer than using a knife because they are not as sharp and they work just as well. Encourage older kids, even teens, to use these as well. They are cheap and can be used next year, too.

Make sure your costumed kid can see. Masks should not hinder a kid's ability to see, even peripherally. Also, test makeup on a small patch of skin before applying it to your kid's entire face to ensure he or she is not allergic.

Inspect all candy before allowing your kid to eat it. Again, probably obvious, but make sure you look at every sweet before your kid eats it. Even if they want to eat a piece or two during trick-or-treat, check it first. Be particularly leery of home-baked treats of any kind.

Remind kids about basic safety issues. Even though you are going trick-or-treating with your child, remind him or her about looking both ways before crossing streets, not speaking with strangers and being polite to the people handing out the candy.

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