Halloween in the south is very different than in other parts of the country. In Jacksonville, like in other warmer climates, some of the tips you find on the typical Halloween safety lists just don’t apply. However, keeping your family safe this Halloween is about more than common sense. Follow some smart rules to keep your loved ones safe.
Wisely Choose Your Costume
Costume choice is a huge part of Halloween. Choosing the right one (ones) for the various festivities is important, but safety must be a consideration, especially when choosing the costume you will go trick or treating in on the 31st.
- Select a costume that is comfortable for the temperature of the day. Late October can still be very warm in Jacksonville. If you plan to trick or treat, forego the warm costumes that may cause your children to overheat.
- Avoid dark costumes or add strips of reflective tape, to make your entire group more visible. Avoid masks and choose makeup instead. Masks can block the line of sight.
Know Where You Are Trick or Treating
While there are many very safe neighborhoods in Jacksonville, unsafe ones can also be very close by. Before you head out to trick or treat in a neighborhood that is not your own, check out the area in the light of day. Things look much different at night.
Do a check for registered sex offenders in the area you will trick or treat in. This arms you with the knowledge of which houses to avoid. Because of a loophole in Florida laws, some do decorate their homes and hand out candy.
Trick or Treat in Groups
There really is safety in numbers. If you choose to go from house to house trick or treating, do so in a group. Be sure there are sufficient adults with the group to keep an eye on all children. One should lead the group while others should be in the middle and at the back of the group.
Light The Way
As you make the rounds for treats with your family, carry flashlights – lots of them. Doing so will help keep your group safe and avoid trip and fall injuries.
While it might look convenient to zigzag across the street to hit all houses giving out candy. However, unless you have sufficient adults in your group to stand in the middle of the street in both directions while children cross, work one side of the street and then the other.
Inspect That Candy
One of the standard guidelines for Halloween is to inspect candy before letting your children indulge. This is still an important rule to follow. Unwrapped, homemade and even loosely wrapped “treats” should be considered trash. If you find tampering or something dangerous in your child’s treat bag, alert police.
Keep Your Home Safe
Whether someone is at your home to give out candy or it is completely dark, because you have all gone trick or treating, it is important to take security measures for your home on Halloween. Lock up securely and use your home security system if you leave your house empty.
Even if you are at home, sit outside to distribute treats and keep your home locked and the system armed. Because you never know when someone might be casing your home, avoid standing in the doorway and giving strangers a peek inside. Use plenty of outdoor lighting to help trick or treaters stay safe and to shed light on anyone who might be up to no good.
Consider Alternatives to Traditional Trick or Treating
Jacksonville has an array of alternative choices available for those who would rather stay off the streets. Consider these options instead of going door to door.
- Trunk-or-Treats are popular with both churches and businesses in the area, and provide an opportunity for families to go from decorated car to decorated car in safe closed off parking lot.
- Fall or harvest festivals are also held on Halloween by many local churches, providing a carnival-like atmosphere perfect for those looking for something different to do.
- Shopping centers throughout Northeast Florida offer safe trick or treating from merchants.
- Jacksonville Zoo’s Spooktacular is a family-friendly alternative to door to door trick or treating
Halloween in Jacksonville can truly be a treat for families who are prudent in the safety efforts they make. Stay safe and have a Happy Halloween.
Tiffany McDonald is a mom, wife, wino, Internet addict and intimately concerned with her family’s safety and security. She currently represents a local alarm company; Safe Choice Security. She has a 20 year old step-daughter, 7 year old son, 85lb dog and what she likes to call her “future Youtube famous” cat named Taco Enchilada. If you don’t see her on social media for a day or two; call the cops.
Oh, and for a grown-up view; check out Linkedin!