The scary part of Halloween for children does not involve the ghosts and goblins they may impersonate Friday night as they venture out into the darkness to “trick-or-treat.” Rather, the true dangers involve crossing streets, approaching strangers at their front doors and simply being out after dark.

The advice safety experts offer at this time of year is as predictable as sale prices on candy, but it merits repetition. As excited youngsters dash from house to house to collect their treats, drivers need to be particularly cautious. That is especially true when topping a hill or a blind curve. Too often, the Halloween costumes children choose - and parents let them wear - are dark, making them difficult to be seen. Incorporating reflective tape on all costumes could mean the difference between a fun-filled evening or a horrible accident. Masks should be designed so vision is not obstructed. Meanwhile, the end of daylight-saving time has been delayed until the first Sunday in November that affords some additional daylight between the end of the traditional work day for parents and total darkness.

The safest way for children to trick-or-treat is with a group or with an adult. Children should be told not to eat any unwrapped candy until they return home and can be examined in the light where parents can see it.

A very few highly publicized tragedies that have occurred on past Halloweens through the years have put a severe damper on trick-or-treating, so organized parties and celebrations hosted by parents, clubs, schools, organizations and churches provide alternative ways to have fun.

Halloween has become one of America’s favorite celebrations. The way we observe it has changed in recent years, but children and their parents can still have fun with it as long as some basic safety practices are followed. Have a good - but above all a safe - time.

Brownwood Bulletin