Go ahead, deck your house with spooky stuff with Halloween—as long as it doesn’t pose any danger to children who come to your doorstep for treats. If you’re installing light strands outdoors, buy those that have been lab-tested and have the safety seal (such as the ICC mark). Check for broken sockets, busted light bulbs, exposed or frayed wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets. Don’t overload extension cords as this can cause fire.
If you’re expecting trick-or-treaters, clear your front steps and porches of any obstacles and sharp objects. Don’t leave burning candles unattended or within a child’s and other combustibles’ reach, as they may catch fire. Pauline shares her Halloween decorating style: “I use store-bought décor—a fake spider here, a flameless jack o’ lantern there. No candles—and nothing too scary.” Ria and Karina skip decorating altogether. “Since we live in a condo, the only decorating I can do is to hang some spooky cutouts on our door,” says Ria.
Road Safety: Street smarts
Even if it is within a gated community, you can’t let your child go out on the streets without safety precaution—vehicles are bound to pull out of driveways and around corners. “Joaquin gets to go out only if he has a trustworthy and alert adult companion,” explains Pauline. Ria adds, “If I can’t personally accompany my children, I check up on them by calling or texting. I also remind the yayas to stay close to their wards, and to never let them stray or out of their sight.”
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Moms, remind your kids and their guardians to always stay on the sidewalk and to watch for oncoming vehicles before crossing the street. If they’d be out until dusk, provide them with glow sticks, flashlights, and reflectors, so they could be seen by motorists. Line your children’s costumes with reflective tape, available in most hardware stores.
Karina prefers Halloween activities held indoors. “They’re more controlled. Luckily, trick-or-treating is no longer restricted to the streets. Kids now have other options to enjoy Halloween. Shopping malls, hotels, and some offices arrange special events during Halloween just for the kids.
Christine Añonuevo, property administrator of First Oceanic Property Management, Inc. organizes events in the condominium where Ria’s family lives. “We brief the building administration, security, utility, and housekeeping staff before the event. This ensure the safety of the participants. We make sure elevators, hallways, and fire exits are clean and free from obstructions.” She also advises all those who will be giving out treats, “to keep their pets away to prevent any untoward incidents such as kids getting bitten or frightened.”