With little effort, Trick or Treat time can be the best of times

With Halloween Thursday the three “trick or treat” opportunities for kids around here comes to an end. Things started on Friday with downtown Houghton’s Treat Street, where merchants handed out goodies and more. Many store and shop workers donned costumes and there were elaborate decorations. Hats off to the Houghton Police Department for their Haunted Police Station, always a popular event.

The Treat Street was followed the very next day by Michigan Technological University’s Safe House where many of the dorms featured trick or treating, haunted houses, games and other activities in a warm, dry, supervised and safe environment, all free of charge.

Our thanks and appreciation goes out to all the businesses, Michigan Tech staff and students for making these events so special for youngsters.

And now it’s our turn.

Trick or Treating in most areas Thursday brings the holiday to a sweet conclusion. As a precautionary note we’d like to take this moment to remind both parents and children alike, to make safety the number one priority.

Despite hundreds of children packing the streets and dormitories, both events were handled effectively and, more importantly, safely.

We ask that both those doling out treats and those responsible for the children gathering them follow some simple guidelines for safe trick or treating.

According to experts, these simple tips will make the experience safe for all concerned.

Plan a route in advance, and stick to a route that both children and adults are familiar with

Wear comfortable shoes. Girls in dresses should avoid heels and all shoelaces should be double-tied to avoid tripping in the dark.

Make sure children can see as well as be seen. Reflective tape on costumes allows motorists to see the youngsters, while flashlights are an easy solution to both the problem of seeing where you’re going and making it easier to be seen.

Costumes should be short to avoid dragging and possibly tripping a youngster and should be appropriate for weather conditions.

Avoid masks. These make it difficult for kids to see and to breath. If possible, use non-toxic makeup to complete the costume.

Use flexible props. If a costume can’t be complete without a weapon, make sure the sword or gun is rubber or plastic and won’t cause injury to your child or their friends.

Check your child’s candy at the end of the night and make sure you throw away anything that is not in its original wrapper or looks as if it has been opened.

Homeowners, make sure your yard, sidewalk and steps are clear and well lighted.

Our thanks go out in advance to local police, fire and EMT departments and volunteers who make it a point to patrol neighborhoods during the trick or treating hours. Parents, if your older children are out on their own, make sure they know to look for neighborhood patrols in the event of problems or any difficulties.

With little effort and a concentration on safety, this Halloween can be the fun time youngsters expect it to be.