Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids. Do you remember ember the excitement of picking out a costume? Or the thrill of going through your bucket, filled to the brim with candy, as soon as you got home? And trying to eat as much of your favorite candies as you could before you went to bed?

Times are different now, and with Halloween right around the corner, it is important that both parents and children know how to stay safe while having fun.

To keep Halloween night as thrilling as it should be, keep these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics in mind to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters.

• Pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween. Remind Trick-or-Treaters to watch out for cars and remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely. Don’t assume you have the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!

• Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that costumes and shoes fit well to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame. Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

• A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.

• Make sure your children look both ways before crossing the street. Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk facing the traffic at the far edge of the roadway. Use established crosswalks wherever possible. Teach young children basic pedestrian skills, such as “look left, look right, look left again for traffic” to lay a foundation of good safety skills that will keep them safe when they are old enough to walk alone.

• Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Allow your children to eat only factory-wrapped treats. They should not eat homemade treats made by strangers.

Try to limit the amount of treats you and your children eat.

Follow these guidelines to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone!

Keeping children — and all pedestrians — safe is also the responsibility of the entire community. Through the Building a Healthier Independence initiative, the Independence Health Department is working to improve pedestrian safety, especially for our children.

The City’s Public Works Department has been a great partner in this project, building more than 12 miles of new sidewalks and trails and repainting more than 290 crosswalks near schools. They also keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from stop signs so that drivers are able to see them more easily.

For more information on the Building a Healthier Independence initiative, go tohttp://www.buildingahealthierindependence.org/ or like us on Facebook.

For more information on Halloween Safety Tips for children, visit http://www.aap.org/ and search Halloween safety tips.

Larry Jones, MPH, is the director of the Independence Health Department.