POLK COUNTY -- It's almost time for ghouls, goblins and gory creatures of all forms to take the streets and beg for candy. Halloween comes in less than two weeks, and the American Red Cross has released its annual safety tips for treaters of all ages.
The Red Cross says:
* Wear light-colored or reflective-type clothing so you are more visible. (And remember to put reflective tape on bikes, skateboards and brooms, too.)
* Use face paint rather than masks or things that will cover your eyes.
* Cross streets only at corners. Look both ways to check for cars, trucks and low-flying brooms.
* Don't hide or cross the street between parked cars.
* Walk, slither and sneak on sidewalks; not in the street.
* Carry a flashlight to light your way.
* Visit only homes that have a porch light on.
* Keep away from open fires and candles. (Costumes can be extremely flammable).
* Accept your treats at the door -- never go into a stranger's house.
* Be cautious of strangers and animals.
* Have a grown-up inspect your treats before eating them. And don't eat candy if the package is already opened.
* Parents, remember that small, hard pieces of candy are a choking hazard for young children.
"By following a few simple safety tips, parents can make this Halloween a safe and fun time for their little trick-or-treaters," Jeff DeBo, local Red Cross health and safety director, said.
"Most Halloween injuries are preventable if parents and children take simple precautions."