October is here, and that means Halloween celebrations are just around the corner. It’s that time of year where kids are getting their costumes ready for a night of ghosts, goblins, and sweet treats. While Halloween can be a fun time for the whole family, there are still some things that parents should pay extra attention to while the children are going from house to house to collect candy. Here are some tips to consider when taking the kids out for a night of Halloween trick-or-treating.
- Choose well-lit neighborhoods and bring flashlights or glow sticks for children. At the end of October, it can get dark pretty early. If you have small children, make sure that you take them out earlier in the evening. Regardless of their age, all kids should have some kind of reflective clothing or flashlight that can help light the way down darker streets.
- Obey all traffic laws and pedestrian rules. Remind your children to always look both ways, and to never dart out into the street. It can be tempting to run around without paying attention when there are a lot of people around, but if you are trick-or-treating in a neighborhood that has active traffic, there is always a possibility of cars driving nearby. In addition, leave earphones or earplugs and smart phones at home. Children should be paying attention to their surroundings and not listening to music or texting as they walk around.
- Always accompany kids while they trick-or-treat. The general rule is that kids under 13 should always be with an adult, but even with teens, it’s a good idea to make sure that an adult is close-by. With all the commotion associated with Halloween, it’s easy for kids to run into some kind of trouble, even if it’s minor. Make sure you are monitoring your kids’ locations and/or you are present with them while they trick-or-treat.
- Educate your kids on the danger of weapons. If your child’s costume has a fake weapon associated with it, make sure that you educate them on the dangers of threatening someone else, despite the fact that it may be a fake threat. This is especially important with regards to threatening law enforcement. Please ensure your children know the consequences and implications of threatening a police officer with any kind of realistic weapon they may be wearing for Halloween.
- The Dangers of Drugs on Halloween: It’s always important for parents to monitor the treats that kids are bringing home after a night of trick-or-treating, but it’s especially important to make sure that parents are aware of what drugs disguised as treats may look like. Certain pills such as Ecstasy or MDMA may come in cartoonish shapes. Homemade treats may be laced with THC, the active drug component in marijuana. As parents, you should discard any suspicious looking packages, unwrapped candies, or homemade treats that come from people you don’t know.
- Pick a Safe and Enjoyable Trick-or-Treat Spot: If your neighborhood doesn’t offer much in the way of trick-or-treating, consider going to a community-organized event such as the one hosted at Evelyn Greer Park. Each year, the Village of Pinecrest puts on a fun “Track-or-Treating” event at the park that is safe and enjoyable for the whole family. Dress up in costume, and bring the kids to this community event that provides a comfortable environment to enjoy a fun holiday celebration.
- Property Liability and Safety on Halloween: Homeowners and sovereign institutions have a duty to maintain safe premises at all times. Homeowners in particular should be sure that their property safe for trick-or-treaters by ensuring that it is well lit and free of obstructions that may cause a slip and fall accident. Governments have the responsibility of ensuring that public spaces such as streets and sidewalks are safe for pedestrians as well.
If you or your family is injured due to the negligent actions of another, it’s important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney may be able to help you recover financially from the losses that you have incurred due to the negligent incident.
Mitchell J. Panter is Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar and National Board of Trial Advocacy, primarily practicing in the areas of Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Product Liability, Sexual Assault, Food Contamination and Premises Liability Cases. You can reach Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305 662-6178. You can also visit the office at 6950 N Kendall Dr., Miami, FL 33156.