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Halloween safety: 5 tips for a night full of treats, not trouble

Two partygoers walk down Santa Monica Blvd. during the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval, October 31, 2011.
Two partygoers walk down Santa Monica Blvd. during the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval, October 31, 2011. Joshua Barash/Flickr

Halloween is upon us, and the Los Angeles Fire Department — along with police departments across the region — have advice for parents to keep children safe while trick or treating. 

The first thing to remember is: It's not as dangerous as you think.

According to the L.A. Daily News, common safety concerns are exaggerated, including poisoned candy, rampant crime and satanic animal sacrifices.

But there are a few real hazards. A costume with long fabrics could catch fire on a Jack O' Lantern, for example. And crossing a street at night in a dark-colored get-up can be risky if you don't watch where you're going.

Law enforcement agencies plan to beef up patrols on Halloween night. Adults looking to celebrate should also beware: Events such as West Hollywood's Halloween Costume Carnaval will attract thousands to the streets at night.

The raucous festival takes over Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny Drive and La Cienega Boulevard on Oct. 31. Sgt. Jon Klaus of the West Hollywood Sheriff's Department said they'll continue policing the event as  they have for the past 15 years. "We prepare in case something happens," he explained. "We'll have one or two arrests, just drunk [partygoers], but for the most part there is no violence. Everbody's out there to have fun."

Klaus said the most important safety precaution is to stay together with your group.

"Don't wander out by yourself, especially outside the area, especially if you've been drinking," he said. "The little side streets will be less populated and hard to get to."

With that in mind, here are Five Tips for a Safe Halloween:

  1. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility. Because a mask can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic and hypoallergenic makeup or a decorative hat as a safe alternative.
  2. Consider getting fire-proof wigs and costume accessories. 
  3. Always keep Jack O' Lanterns and hot electric lamps far away from drapes, decorations, inflammable materials or areas where children and pets will be standing or walking.
  4. As always, adult partygoers should establish and reward a designated driver.
  5. If out on the streets, don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing costumes. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will.

Here are more safety tips from the LAFD and LAPD.

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How do you plan to ensure the safety of your little trick or treaters? Share your ideas with us in the comments.

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