It's a scary sight: pirates darting across the street while drivers are heading home from work.
To prepare for Halloween, now's the time for a refresher on safety rules, such as crossing only at corners and crosswalks, and staying with your group.
Vincent Iannelli, pediatrician, dad and creator of the Web site www.keepkids healthy.com, says trick-or-treaters need the safety practice. Also, reflective tape on costumes and candy bags and using glow sticks or flashlights will add to a child's visibility to drivers.
Another tip: Masks can be annoying. But if you're putting face make-up on your child instead, don't overdo it. Dab a bit on your child's arm for a couple of days to check for an allergic reaction first, Iannelli says. Keep makeup away from the eyes.
Before Halloween, the littlest celebrants need to be coached about what to expect – about what's real and what's not. Not all children even want to take part in Halloween. That's OK.
Be warned: Costumes or masks that block another person's face beyond all recognition may set your child to screaming.
One safety rule should be ingrained in parents: No eating Halloween candy until it's inspected at home. But kids need to hear the rule again and again so they are not tempted to snack along the treat route.
Give away alternatives to candy, such as stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils, or one-ounce Play-Doh packages.
Keep your porch light on as a welcome sign for trick-or-treaters, and keep the path to your door clear of cords.
After Halloween, look for sales on costumes and keep a dress-up box handy for impromptu dramas. Restock with hand-me-downs. Year-round unstructured play at home fosters your child's development.