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Trick-Or-Treaters Need Good Manners
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children can treat adults to an enjoyable Halloween evening by using good manners and following some simple safety rules.
Parents carry the bulk of the responsibility for communities having safe, enjoyable Halloweens.
Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said parents need to carefully supervise their children on this fall night, often dedicated to juvenile antics.
"Trick-or-treating is best reserved for children between the ages of 3 and 12," Davis said. "Teenagers, especially those wanting to be treated like adults the other 364 days of the year, do not need to be going to strangers' doors asking for candy."
Davis said the increase of gang activities is another reason parents should closely monitor their teens on Halloween.
"All trick-or-treaters should limit their routes to familiar neighborhoods. If they venture to other areas, parents should make sure they only go to homes where they know the occupants," Davis said. "It's always best to go to familiar homes, but that is even more true in unfamiliar neighborhoods or dark houses.
Children who live in the country or in neighborhoods that don't pass out candy still can trick-or-treat. Parents should call ahead to several friends' houses and take their children to various homes.
"These children get the benefit of dressing up and seeing family friends who will appreciate the visit," Davis said. "They often receive as much candy by phoning ahead as other children who go to twice as many houses."
Discourage children from racing from one house to another.
"Parents should teach their children to be polite at each house and always say thank you," Davis said. "Running through yards and across streets is very dangerous. Teach children to walk facing traffic and to watch carefully for on-coming cars."
Other safety issues include wearing reflective tape and carrying a flashlight to improve visibility. Make sure masks do not hamper a child's ability to see.