It will soon be Halloween time, and we would be remiss if we didn’t take the initiative and offer some advice to make this celebration of the fall season a holiday that is safe for adults and children alike — from mask safety and candy safety to smart trick-or-treating. Better yet, make plans to visit one of the many Halloween-themed community events specifically designed with safety in mind.
Trick-or-treating on Halloween is spotty in South Florida. Some communities have a strong tradition, while others — especially ones without sidewalks and larger lots — do not. Either way, many communities have moved up trick-or-treating earlier in the evening to ensure better natural lighting. This is good; according to Safe Kids Worldwide, twice as many children between the ages of 5 and 14 are hit by cars between 4 and 10 p.m. on Halloween compared to the same timeframe on any other day of the year. So walking on sidewalks (where available), wearing lighter-colored attire and carrying flashlights makes a lot of sense.
Adults should also be part of the childhood experience, both as supervision for their children and as a social outlet. While it may be safe to let older kids go out in groups — as long as they stay in an area they know well, follow rules and check in regularly — they should never go door-to-door by themselves. Having a cell phone available also makes good common sense, in case of emergency.
The costumes should be safe, too. Costumes, masks and shoes should fit properly. Avoid capes, sashes and other costume pieces that untie easily or hang too low; these increase the risk for trips and falls. Costumes and accessories should be flame-resistant and kept away from burning candles.
Also, make sure that your trick-or-treaters eat only factory-wrapped treats — and only after they have been checked for choking hazards and tampering. Throw away unwrapped treats and homemade goodies made by strangers.
The safest alternative is to celebrate in true community fashion at one of the many local celebrations. That way, youngsters can get their candy and costume fix in a protected atmosphere. Here are but a few ideas:
• Wellington kicks off the festivities with its Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Village Park (11700 Pierson Road). There will be eight bounce houses, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, trick-or-treat doors, face painting, the popular haunted hallways, a costume contest, food from food trucks and more. For more info., visit www.wellingtonfl.gov.
• The Village of Wellington and the Wellington High School DECA Club will hold their seventh annual Trunk or Treat at the parking lot of Wellington High School (2101 Greenview Shores Blvd.) from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24. To participate by decorating your car and handing out candy, call DECA at (561) 795-4919 or e-mail email@example.com.
• Also on Saturday, Oct. 24, starting at 4 p.m., the Acreage Landowners’ Association and the Indian Trail Improvement District will host their Spooktacular Rocktoberfest at Acreage Community Park (6701 140th Ave. North). It will feature an interactive bounce house and a waterslide for the kids to play in, photo opportunities, a 50/50 raffle, a car show, a costume contest, live music, food trucks, vendors, games and more. For more information, visit www.acreagelandowners.com.
• Royal Palm Beach will close out the month on Friday, Oct. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 31 with its Fall Fest, spread out over two days at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park (11600 Poinciana Blvd.). The festivities will take place from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday and 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturday. Along with trick-or-treating, the festivities include a full-fledged carnival with carnival rides, a costume contest and entertainment. Call (561) 790-5149 for more info.