I hope everyone had a safe and sane Halloween last night. It is my sincere wish (as well as the wish of our National Safety Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics) that none of you or your children were injured, sickened, traumatized, frightened, scared, worried, startled, disturbed, rattled, jolted, displeased, inconvenienced, set on fire, or over-exercised last night.
You may be saying right now, “Well, yes, Smidge. As a matter of fact my children were slightly startled in one brief instance last night, and I’m still hopping mad about it.”
If that’s the case, you probably did Halloween wrong. You may not be current on all the latest Halloween safety tips and procedures. Unfortunately, that makes you a bad parent. But before Child Protective Services needs to get involved, we’ve all decided to give you one more chance next year.
Please spend the next twelve months reviewing the list below so you’re ready to be a good parent next year.
HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS
Select a safe area for trick-or-treating. Choose streets that are well lighted and landscaped so you can be seen. Avoid trick-or-treating on streets you are unfamiliar with, and try to go out before it gets dark.
Were you trick-or-treating after 3:30 P.M.? Shame on you. Did you go to the porch of a house that didn’t have perfectly manicured front hedges? That was incorrect.
Always keep the adult who is watching you in sight. Never go into a stranger’s home while trick-or-treating. Never get into a stranger’s car or go anywhere with a stranger.
Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks. Do not walk out from behind parked cars or try to cross in the middle of the block.
Did you let your kids jump into the stranger’s van to go get the candy that they forgot at their other house? That was wrong. Don’t do that. Did you cross your neighborhood streets at any place other than an intersection? You are an idiot.
Wait until you get home to eat your treats. Your parents should inspect each item carefully, looking for needles, open packages and other signs of tampering. Do not eat homemade items prepared by strangers.
This is equally important – If you did find needles, it is not OK to re-use them.
Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
If any part of your child’s costume was a dark, non-reflective, or ill-fitting garment, your children probably already realize you don’t love them.
Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
If you have found the first properly-fitting decorative hat in the history of the world, please let the rest of us know where you bought it. Any makeup or face paint that says “made in China” is radioactive. Seeking medical attention at this point is futile.
When shopping for costumes, wigs, and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
This is especially important, since every trick-or-treater attempts to stick his or her head inside your jack-o’-lantern, as is customary and traditional.
(Side Note: While fire retardancy is a paramount issue on All Hallows Eve, “The Flaming Wigs” would obviously be a great name for a rock band.)
Do not carry or wear sharp objects that may poke others or damage eyes. Objects like swords, wands, canes, etc., should be left at home. Do not carry toy guns that look like real guns. A citizen or a police officer can mistake a toy gun for a real gun.
Did your child lose an eye last night? That plastic Harry Potter wand was the problem in that instance. Were your kids pinned down behind your neighbor’s SUV for hours in a firefight with local law enforcement officers? Next time simply leave the toy guns at home.
Carry a flashlight to light the way and to alert motorists of your presence. Never carry candles or any other flammable object. Do not use candles for decorations or displays. They can easily be knocked down or can set fire to a nearby curtain or costume.
Did you set yourself, your curtains, and your neighbor’s curtains on fire last night? The candelabra you were using to light your way was the problem. Most cell phones have a flashlight app now. Look into it.
Motorists need to be extra careful on Halloween. Watch out for careless children who may run into the street without looking. Expect the unexpected, and anticipate the actions of others.
If you were not “expecting the unexpected” last night, I loathe you. I will spend some time making a list of all the unforeseen issues that might arise in the next year and send it to you, so that you may stop sucking at life.
Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
Correction – No one should ever carve pumpkins. It’s a slimy, messy job that attracts fruit flies and makes your hands stink like pumpkin guts. We should all stop.
Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.
In summary, a concrete and stucco porch is no place for a small flame encased inside a wet, sticky, flame-retardant gourd. Keep the fire inside your home, on a surface made entirely of combustible materials.
A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
We’re not sure who wrote this, but they obviously had never met a youngster before.
Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
Definitely consider doing this if you’re tired of not having toilet paper in your trees, eggs on your house, and soap on the windows of your cars.
Hopefully this list will help you have a much safer and more enjoyable Halloween next year. I know that was a lot of information at once, but you have a whole year to study.
But if you are ever in doubt, just use common sense. You can start by asking yourself five simple questions.
Have I fastened my child to his trick-or-treat buddy with reflectorized tape?
Is my child carrying anything other than a piece of Styrofoam that I bubble-wrapped for safety?
Is the sun still high in the sky?
Are there any dangerous jack-o’-lanterns with insane open flames inside them within a two hundred-foot radius of my child?
You are doing great.
Have we come into contact with any candy whatsoever?
You are a great parent!
Enjoy your Halloween done right next year!
See you soon,
Copyright © 2017 Marc Schmatjen
Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!