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Halloween trick-or-treating safety tips

While Halloween may bring out our inner ghouls, it's best to do all possible to avoid the outer calamities.

Here are safety tips for trick-or-treaters, courtesy of AAA, and for companion animals, with a nod to the Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

See and be seen

Give children's costumes a trial run at home to be sure that masks, wigs and other accessories don't impede trick-or-treaters' vision, according to AAA. (This presents the opportunity, too, to do a trip-check for any element that might come loose and cause the child to take a spill.)

To make it easier for drivers to spot trick-or-treaters, choose a costume that's "light, bright and reflective," the AAA says. (Top children's costumes this year include princess, Batman, Disney "Frozen" characters, "Star Wars" characters and Minions, says the National Retail Federation.)

For added visibility, reflective tape can be added to costumes and containers for carrying the loot.

Children and escorts should be packing flashlights with fresh batteries, making it easier to see and be seen.

Rules of the road

With the evening bringing added hazards -- drivers, tipsy or not, taking to the roads for Halloween parties -- children need to be reminded to stay on sidewalks, cross at crosswalks, avoid stepping out from between parked cars and to keep an eye out for cars emerging from driveways, the AAA says.

Parents should chose a well-lit route with sidewalks and away from heavy traffic, with an adult or responsible teen escorting younger trick-or-treaters.

For the four-legged set

Though some might say attiring dogs or cats in any costume could be considered cruel or demeaning, the Nassau SPCA points out the some companion animals relish the chance to dress up. (Top pet costumes this year include pumpkins, Batman, bumblebees, bow ties, sharks and Minions, the retail federation says.)

Still, you won't want a costume that impedes the animal's movement, vision, hearing or the ability to breathe or bark, the SPCA says. Steer clear, too, of anything with small or dangling accessories that can be choked on.

Costumed or not, keep dogs and cats inside during trick-or-treat time, so they don't get "agitated at all of the goblins roaming the streets." That goes, too, for keeping them well away from access to the front door, the arrival of said ghouls -- and the chance to dash outside.

Animals, black cats especially, can become the "targets of tricks," which is another good reason to keep them indoors.

Also keep them away from the treats, with chocolate possibly poisonous to animals, and candy wrappings hazardous if swallowed, the SPCA said.


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