NOKOMIS (Heartland Newsfeed) — Halloween has been celebrated on October 31 in the U.S. since the early 1800’s and is traditionally a family-oriented holiday when children get to dress up and enjoy candy and other treats. Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.
In order to assist the Nokomis community in enjoying this fun-filled holiday as safely as possible, the Nokomis Police Department has compiled the following Halloween safety tips for children and their parents:
- Children should trick-or-treat during daylight hours.
- Children should never be allowed to go out alone on Halloween.
- Children should never eat any treats until they have been examined.
- All fruit should be cut and closely examined before eating.
- Advise children that they should never enter strangers’ homes.
- Never invite children into your home.
- Children should never accept rides from strangers.
- Children should never take shortcuts through backyards or alleys.
- Set a specific time limit for your children to be out on Halloween night.
- Give wrapped homemade treats only to children you know.
- Instruct children not to stray from their group.
- A responsible adult should escort children while trick-or-treating.
- Adult escorts should carry flashlights.
- Don’t leave your home unattended on Halloween night.
- Keep pets inside your home, or other safe place on Halloween night.
- Children should walk, not run, during their trick-or-treat activities.
- Parents should know what route their children will be taking.
- All costumes should be made of light-colored, fireproof material.
- Children should wear proper fitting, comfortable costumes and shoes.
- Props such as toy guns or swords should be made of pliable material.
- Realistic replica firearms should never be used.
- Masks should not be worn if they impair vision.
- Wigs should be fireproof and should not restrict vision.
- Children should always use sidewalks, not the street, for walking.
- Children should look in all directions before crossing the street.
HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield is also offering in regards to pumpkin carving safety:
Fall has arrived, the leaves are changing and pumpkin patches are open for families to select the perfect gourd for carving. Each year emergency rooms across the United States see patients with injuries to the hands and fingers from carving pumpkins – sometimes requiring surgical treatment.
“Members of the public may want to mimic some of the skills of our fine surgeons with pumpkin carving this season,” said John Peipert, interim president and CEO at HSHS St. Francis Hospital. “We encourage them to take precautions to ensure you won’t need to make an unexpected trip to the emergency department.”
HSHS St. Francis Hospital offers these tips to keep you and your family to stay safe during your Halloween and autumn celebrations:
- Supervision required. Adults should always be present during pumpkin carving activities. Involve children by letting them draw the pattern to carve, but leave the cutting to adults.
- Setup your operation. Just like operating rooms, you need good light and a clean, dry space to carve your pumpkin.
- Skip the scalpel. Avoid using very sharp knives that can become anchored into the pumpkin or go through the other side potentially causing injury. Consider purchasing tools specially designed for pumpkin carving to reduce your risk of injury.
- Take your time. Surgeons don’t rush through procedures, and you shouldn’t either! Plan and be patient while creating your Halloween décor.
- Don’t get burned. You carved a pumpkin avoiding scrapes and cuts – don’t risk a burn injury. Use battery-operated lights or glow sticks to light up your creation.
If you sustain a pumpkin carving injury, seek help – call 911 or visit the St. Francis Hospital emergency room.
Trick or treating will be held in the City of Nokomis on Monday, October 30 and Tuesday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.