It was every parent’s worst Halloween nightmare.
A family sent their middle school aged kids out for a fun night of costumed trick-or-treating to collect candy around the neighborhood. Upon their return home, the children’s parents were horrified to discover bags of cocaine mixed in with the goodies.
The drug delivery happened on Halloween three years ago in England, though it was later learned to have been unintentional. A 23-year-old man accidentally handed out his drug stash to the trick-or-treaters when he reached into the wrong pocket while answering the door.
He quickly realized the mistake when he found candy still in his other pocket after they left, and tried to run after them a few minutes later. Unfortunately for him, they were ghosts in the wind.
Fortunately, the children’s mom and dad went through the candy before they were allowed to consume it — exemplary parenting on their part — and the drugs were identified. What could have been a bad situation was averted, though the father, who was a police officer, notified the authorities who were able to track the distributor down and arrest him.
Though the story had a happy ending for all but the addict, it’s one of many reasons to stay safe this Halloween by following these simple rules and suggestions.
- Costume accessories — like swords, wands, and toy guns — should be short and preferably soft or flexible.
- Costumes should be short and with no pieces hanging near the child’s feet, to avoid tripping hazards.
- Masks can be uncomfortable and often create limited vision. Non-toxic makeup may be used instead, but makeup should be tested before Halloween night, the CDC recommends, in case of possible allergic reactions.
- Do not wear decorative contact lenses, unless they have been fitted and prescribed by an eye care professional.
- When shopping for costumes, look for flame resistant Halloween costumes and accessories.
- Examine all treats for signs of tampering. Candy should be wrapped in its original factory wrapper.
- Avoid accepting homemade treats, unless they are from a trusted neighbor or friend.
- Be sure to feed children a balanced meal before trick-or-treating, as this will keep them from eating too much candy on Halloween night.
- Ration Halloween candy over the days and weeks after the big day.
Pedestrian and Traffic Safety
- Walk in groups, accompanied by a parent, responsible older child, or other trusted adult.
- The Los Angeles Times reports that injuries and fatalities involving children getting hit by cars and trucks double on Halloween. To make yourself more visible to drivers, attach reflective tape to your costume or trick-or-treating bag, and carry glow-sticks or flashlights.
- Always walk instead of running, to avoid falls and injuries.
- Look both ways before crossing the street, and use designated crosswalks as often as you can.
- Never accept rides from strangers, and never enter a stranger’s vehicle to get candy.
- If older children are trick-or-treating alone, set a curfew and agree on the route children will take.
- Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking on streets. If you need to walk on a street, make sure you walk on the side facing oncoming traffic.