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Halloween can be a fun time for the whole family, but sometimes bad planning or bad judgement can turn the evening into a nightmare!

Fire safety issues have been very much in the news, but road safety and child protection issues are just as important on Tuesday 31 October. Follow these simple tips for a safe and enjoyable night.

For parents:

• Make or buy costumes in light-coloured material
• Avoid cheap ‘floaty’ materials which may catch fire easily
• Place strips of reflective tape on the back and front of costumes, so that drivers can better see your child
• Dress your child for the weather. Add layers if needed

If your child is going out without an adult:

• Make sure your child is in a group of at least three people
• Give them a torch. A mobile phone is also a good idea if you have one.
• Discuss in advance the route they should follow. Ask them to call you if they plan to go on a street that isn’t on the route
• Avoid crossing main roads if possible

For children:

• Don’t visit houses that are not well lit. Never go inside a stranger’s house
• Avoid houses you know which have frail or vulnerable owners. They may not share your enthusiasm for Halloween
• Try and visit houses of friends, family or immediate neighbours if possible
• Be aware of candles or naked flames or doorsteps
• Should the worst happen and your costume catches fire – STOP, DROP and ROLL

For homeowners:

• Turn on outdoor lights, and replace burnt-out bulbs
• Remove items from your drive or porch that might trip a child
• Sweep wet leaves from your steps and driveway
• Use an alternative to candles in your pumpkins, such as a torch, LED or a battery-operated candle
• Remember that some children have food allergies. Consider giving other simple treats such as stickers, pens or a yo-yo
• Put a polite notice on your door if you do not wish to have trick or treat visitors