Ensure safe and happy Halloween

As children prepare to make their annual costumed trek throughout the Mahoning Valley Thursday, we ask parents to put safety first this Halloween.

Following some simple rules will ensure a safe and happy experience for everyone:

Parents should accompany young children or make sure an adult or responsible teenager is with them when going door-to-door. Local police and law enforcement agencies will be patrolling, but they can’t be everywhere.

Children always should go house-to-house in groups, and in rural areas where there aren’t sidewalks, children and adults accompanying them should walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.

It’s important to note that children should stay in familiar neighborhoods and only visit homes where the porch light is on.

Motorists, too, should exercise extreme caution during trick-or-treat hours. First off, know trick-or-treat hours in your neighborhood, and drive slower to prevent accidents.

Parents can follow a few common-sense rules as well. The first rule is to make sure a costume is made of flame-retardant material.

Also, at the end of the evening when the children return home with bags of candy, parents should inspect the candy, and anything that looks suspicious should be thrown out.

Homeowners often are overlooked when the discussion turns to precautions for Halloween safety, but those who wish to participate in the yearly tradition should make sure their yards are clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes and flower pots that can trip youngsters.

Common sense is the key to ensuring a safe and happy Halloween.