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Have spooky fun, stay safe

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 JAYME WARNER

Times Correspondent

Halloween is a fun time for children of all ages, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, enjoy fall fruits and vegetables and eat yummy treats. These celebrations also provide a chance to give out healthy snacks, get physical activity and focus on safety.

There are about 41 million potential trick-or-treaters between the ages of 5 and 14, according to the latest U.S. Census data. That’s a lot of kids on the streets getting their Halloween on. And where children go, safety concerns follow.

“Halloween is a fun time of the year, but at the same time you never know whether the candy you’re getting is edible,” said Florida State University police officer Marvin Harvey. “Make sure as a parent you check every piece of candy your child gets. If it looks suspicious, throw it out.”

According to SafetyKids.org, children younger than 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to well-lit, familiar areas and stay with their trick-or-treat in groups. 

According to examine.com, parents have long rifled through their children’s pillowcases and trick-or-treating bags to check for poisoned candy. Either parents are doing an incredibly effective job of removing toxic candy bars and apples with razor blades slipped inside them, or the potential for trouble is there, but statistically unlikely.

“Have fun, but be safe,” said Harvey. “It’s a lot of dangerous people out there, but as long as you’re cautious, you will have fun.”

Here are a few Halloween safety tips courtesy of the American Red Cross website at www.redcross.org:

* Buy or make only flame-resistant costumes.

* Make sure the trick-or-treaters have a flashlight. Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags. Have everyone wear light-colored clothing to improve visibility.

* Visit only homes with a porch light on. Accept treats at the door — never go inside.

* Instead of masks which can make it hard to see, use face paint.

* Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic. Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner. Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. Don’t cross between parked cars.

* Be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.