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Columbus, Ohio
USA

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Why injury? It's this simple: more children die from injuries every year than from the next three leading causes of death combined. Nobody knows this because no one is talking about it. In the U.S., one child dies every hour from an injury that could have been prevented. Around the world, a child dies every 30 seconds as the result of an injury. You don’t need to have a child to know that we can do better.

 

Trick-or-Treating 101 for Non-Parents

End Injury

I clearly remember the first time I participated in trick-or-treat as an adult. My roommates and I eagerly bought loads of candy, flipped on the porch light at 6pm, and waited for the kids to arrive. And waited. And waited.

We should have known better—we lived in a rougher part of the city, and we got exactly 4 trick-or-treaters. It never occurred to us that parents would take their children to safer neighborhoods, but that’s what happened. We ate candy for the next three weeks.

Now that I live in a neighborhood full of kids, I’ve picked up some pro tips for non-parents like me who get mobbed on Halloween. So here’s my Non-Parent’s Guide to Trick-or-Treat.

Driving:

Evening traffic will likely be heavier than usual as everyone rushes home at the same time to get the kids dressed, fed, and out the door. Be patient and courteous to your fellow drivers so everyone gets home safely.

More kids on the streets = more chances for injury. In fact, Halloween is the #1 day of the year for pedestrian injuries to kids. When kids are excited, they can forget the rules they follow every other day, like looking both ways before crossing the street. Pay extra attention in residential neighborhoods.

Run out of candy? Be cautious when backing out of the driveway on your trip to get more. Little ghosts and goblins seemingly can come out of nowhere.

Candy:

Since I don’t have kids, I rarely think about what kind of candy is appropriate to give children. After a few missteps, I learned to buy several types of candy to ensure that all the princesses, zombies, or GI Joes that come to my door get something they can enjoy.

  • Choking: Children younger than 6 years old can choke on gum, nuts, or hard, gooey, or sticky candies, so skip those. If you’re joining the non-candy trend, remember that toys with small parts are dangerous for children younger than 3 years of age. Ask the child’s parent if you’re unsure what’s appropriate.
  • Allergies: Choose at least one candy that is free from common allergies, such as nuts or dairy.
  • Homemade treats: Most parents will not accept homemade treats from people they don’t know, so unless you’re in a tightly-knit community where everyone knows everyone, stick to store-bought items.

Around the house:

How safe is the route to your door? Decorations, yard tools, toys, or wet leaves could trip up excited trick-or-treaters. My husband and I now sit in our driveway to hand out candy so we don’t have to worry about kids falling on the uneven concrete that leads to our front door.

Turn on both your outside and inside lights to make sure everyone can see where they’re going.

Some children may be frightened of dogs or other pets. Keep pets inside the house and away from the door.

Think about using a battery-powered candle or glow stick to light jack-o-lanterns. If you use real candles, keep the pumpkin away from the door so costumes don’t catch fire. Also, don’t leave a lit jack-o-lantern unattended. Nothing ruins Halloween fun faster than a call to 911.

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