Ensure Halloween is safe for everyone

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Parents and the public focus each year on keeping Halloween safe for children and everyone out trick-or-treating, whether it is ensuring kids have flashlights, are not out after a certain hour, only go to familiar homes and have parents inspect candy before anything is devoured.

However, there are a couple of groups that might have anxiety over a bunch of oddly dressed strangers running around the streets: our four-legged friends and our senior citizen friends.

Dogs and cats, which naturally can be territorial, get confused and panic when seeing all the trick-or-treaters filling the streets. It’s best to keep them inside or somewhere safe where they won’t worry and become destructive. It’s also best to keep them inside or somewhere safe in case children out and about looking for a Halloween prank get their eyes on Fido or Mittens.

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A highly important segment of our population is the elderly, and Halloween can be a frightening time for anyone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, so much so that businesses have been created where you can hire someone to go sit with your elderly relative to keep him or her calm. This also includes seniors and even adults and children with physical limitations. They are all more sensitive to noises and unfamiliar faces.

Some things you can do to provide a sense of peace on Halloween night can be worked on this week to prepare for ghosts and goblins that will come out Saturday in the L-O-U.

• Keep guests outside the door, and never let someone unknown inside even if they beg to use the phone or bathroom.

• Turn on inside and outside lights even if you aren’t handing out candy or aren’t home. It’s a theft and vandalism deterrent.

•Stay inside while handing out candy.

• Make sure all floors, entryways and porches are free of decorations on the walking path.

• Remove Halloween decor that are fire hazards prior to little children arriving on the doorstep.

• Avoid window decorations that block light or keep you from being able to look out the front window at what’s going on.

• Don’t play music outside — it can be distracting and make you less aware of your surroundings.

• Use a nightlight if needed on inside hallways if shadows and oddities outside have made you jumpy.

With proper safety measures, the holiday can be enjoyable or bearable for everyone.