Fall events may be fun for kids, but for parents, trick-or-treat time can be a little tricky. Concerns about children’s safety, whether out in the neighborhood or at home with bags of candy, can darken the day more quickly than a black cat could.

Fall events may be fun for kids, but for parents, trick-or-treat time can be a little tricky. Concerns about children’s safety, whether out in the neighborhood or at home with bags of candy, can darken the day more quickly than a black cat could.
But don’t worry, just prepare for safety!
To make trick-or-treat events more of a treat for all, follow these safety tips:
• Check that costumes are flame retardant, and keep children away from burning jack-o-lanterns or other fire hazards. Substitute artificial light whenever possible.
• Keep costumes short to prevent trips, fall, and other bumps in the night.
• Make sure light colors are worn, or put reflective tape on costumes so that visibility is maintained.
• Try make-up instead of masks. Masks can be hot and uncomfortable and, more importantly, they can obstruct a child’s vision, a dangerous thing when kids are crossing streets and going up and downstairs.
• Trick-or-treaters always should be in a group so they aren’t a tempting target for real-life goblins. Parents should accompany young children and ensure that older participants trick-or-treat with friends.
• Together, map out a safe route so parents know where their children are – better yet, be there with them. Make sure that they stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on, and start early to make use of natural daylight when practical.
• If you do participate when it is dark, make sure each participant has a bright flashlight and that well-lighted streets are used.
• Of course, children should already know not to enter strange houses or strangers’ cars – but make sure you re-emphasize this point.
• Take a cell phone during trick-or-treat, and ensure that emergency procedures are known.
• Concerned about candy? To contact a Candy Hotline operator, call 1-800-433-1200. The national hot-line will be open from 5 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Sunday with questions.
It is important that treats are not eaten until children return home and the candy has been inspected. One way to help keep trick-or-treaters from digging in while they are still out is to feed them a meal or snack beforehand. Check out all treats at home in a well-lighted place. Don’t eat candies and other treats that may appear to have opened wrappers. Inspect fruit and homemade goodies, and throw away anything even slightly suspicious.
Challenge children to make costumes that don’t need “weapons” to be scary and fun. By making a costume that does not require the carrying of items, the children’s hands can be free to carry the flashlight and the treats they receive without being distracted by other items. If objects are part of a child’s costume, make sure they are made from cardboard or other flexible materials, and sew them to the costume.
Many parents may wish to avoid taking their children out in the neighborhood entirely. Parents can organize their own neighborhood or family costume party with treats, games, contests, music and scary stories. Make your home the place to be for the most fun, and you’ll know that everyone is safe.
There are many organized events during this time as well. Last weekend, the City of Blue Springs held the annual “Boo Fest” event for area youth, and it was well attended. Trick-or-treat can be a lot of fun for parents and kids alike, if everybody remembers the tricks and the treats of playing it safe.
On Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m., the Blue Springs Parks and Recreation Department and the Sunset Optimist Club of Blue Springs are sponsoring Trick-or-Treat Street. This event will be held indoors at Vesper Hall, 400 N.W. Vesper St.
At no cost, children from Blue Springs and neighboring communities can use Trick-or-Treat Street as a safe alternative to door-to-door knocking. Participating families will have the opportunity to make easy crafts, visit a “Gross-Stuff” room and a “Not-So-Spooky” room and enjoy more “ghoulish” activities. Each area business/organization participating will furnish a “treat” for each “goblin” that visits their booth as well as decorate their area in a “not so spooky” way.
The Blue Springs Crime Prevention Unit can be contacted at 816-228-0178 or by sending an e-mail to the police department at police@bluespringsgov.com.