Although trick-or-treating is intended to be fun and games, it can also be dangerous for those who don’t keep safety in mind.
“Parents need to have ongoing discussions with kids about safety issues, especially before Halloween,” said Sergeant Danny Grant of the Columbia Police Department.
To avoid many of the safety issues that accompany trick-or-treating, Grant suggests families look into alternatives, such as haunted houses or community sponsored events.
“Parents should consider taking kids to more of structured, organized Halloween events rather that just letting the kids loose in the neighborhood,” Grant said.
For those who choose to go door-to-door on Halloween night, Grant suggested they keep the following safety guidelines in mind:
Inspect any candy that wasn’t packaged in a store, and don’t allow kids to eat anything without approving it first.
Never let children trick-or-treat alone. If a parent cannot go along to supervise, be sure they are accompanied by an older sibling or a family friend.
Instruct kids to walk down one side of the sidewalk and back on the other side, preventing them from darting back and forth across the street and risking being hit by cars.
Be sure costumes allow kids to walk and see normally so that they won’t trip or fall and hurt themselves.
Be sure costumes have elements that are highly visible to drivers after dark, such as glow-sticks or lanterns.
If kids are riding bikes to trick-or-treat, be sure they wear helmets and ride carefully.
Inform kids never to enter a stranger’s house or car, and never accept candy that is left on a front porch.
Avoid houses with no exterior lighting, and don’t stay out past 8 p.m.
It doesn’t take special ingredients to make ghoulish delights for Halloween — presentation is everything.
“Cut out sandwiches in funny shapes, like bats and witches,” said Debbie Benedict, owner of Mid-Mo Catering.
Benedict said cookies cut out into a variety of Halloween shapes are easy to make and fun for kids to decorate.
Eyeball ice cubes make good creepy additions to drinks, said Janel Twehous, special events supervisor for Columbia Parks and Recreation and coordinator of the Tiger Night of Fun. To make them, simply freeze ice cubes with a maraschino cherry in the middle and cut them into circles.
Frozen hands, made by freezing juice into a latex glove and then removing the glove, will make punch or juice more fun, said Huhman.
Huhman also recommended wrapping hot dogs in crecent rolls to resemble mummies.
All it takes to make fun treats is a little creativity. Simple foods can often be passed off as creepier items, such as dried fruits as scabs or scrambled eggs as brains.
For more specific ideas for haunting Halloween fare, check out www.halloween-online.com or www.holidays.net/halloween.