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Be prepared for safe Halloween

LAWRENCEVILLE - Kids and adults will be out and about tonight celebrating Halloween with costumes, candy, parties and more, and while the holiday may promise fun for most, safety can quickly become an issue.

Tommy Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department, said planning ahead will make Halloween a safe and enjoyable time for everyone.

"It is easy for children and adults to get caught up in the excitement of costumes, candy and trick-or-treating," Rutledge said. And while the Gwinnett fire captain stresses the importance of fire safety on Halloween - wearing a flame retardant costume, avoiding open flames, such as a decorative candle or jack-o'-lantern - he is armed with tips to cover all aspects of having a fun and safe Halloween night.

SideBar: Halloween safety tips

Costumes

· Costumes should fit properly. Baggy sleeves or billowing capes pose a tripping hazard as well a fire hazard.

· Costumes should be bright colored and have reflective tape. Carry a flashlight or glow stick as part of your costume.

· Use soft or flexible props for costumes that have no sharp points or jagged edges.

· If carrying a toy weapon as part of your costume, make sure it does not look authentic.

Trick-or-treating

· Children should trick or treat in their own subdivisions and on well-lighted streets.

· Children should trick or treat in small groups and with a responsible adult.

· Walk! Don't run from house to house and use the sidewalk whenever possible.

· Children should never enter a house while trick-or-treating. Stay on the porch or in the doorway to accept candy.

· Use bags that are easy to carry.

· Never accept a ride or go with a stranger.

· Report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.

Candy

· Check all candy wrappers for signs of tampering before eating, and discard any candy that is found unwrapped.

· Discard items that could be a choking hazard, such as hard candies or small toys.

· Report any harmful items found to the police immediately.

Motorists

· Drive slowly and remain cautious, especially on neighborhood streets.

· Watch for children walking in the street or standing in the median.

· Pull into and out from driveways carefully to avoid an accident.

· Watch for children who might dart out from houses or between cars and into the street.

· If you drive your child from place to place, have them exit on the curb side, not on the traffic side, to avoid being hit by a passing car.

· Avoid the use of alcohol while at Halloween festivities/parties, especially if you are driving home afterward. Always have a designated driver and consume alcoholic beverages responsibly. Never provide alcohol to a minor.

At home

· Only use decorations that are tested by an independent laboratory.

· Never overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects.

· Keep paper and dry fall decorations, such as leaves, cornstalks and hay bales away from open flames or any other heat source.

· Use flashlights in jack-o'-lanterns instead of candles to prevent a fire.

· Avoid using decorative candles at Halloween festivities/parties, especially if alcohol is involved.