The best Halloween treat is for everyone to finish the evening happy. To that end, here are some safety tricks.

While out and about

• Make sure the kids can see. You don't want them tripping over things or, especially, stepping out in front of a car. Masks are a no-no; if a youngster insists on having a camouflaged face, opt for makeup. Also avoid flowing costumes and hoods that obscure the wearer's vision.

• Make sure the kids can be seen by drivers. If the costumes don't include reflective patches, get some tape and add them. Have the kids use a bright and/or reflective container for candy collection. Ideally, they should carry flashlights, but if they balk at that, at least issue them glow sticks or LED bracelets.

• Keep the trick-or-treaters company. And pay attention while doing so. That means ignoring your phone and, if there's another parent chaperone, keeping chit-chat with them to a minimum while you focus on the little ones.

• Walk smart. Kids can get excited at the prospect of free candy and do things like suddenly dash across a street to a prospective payoff. Insist that they have your OK before crossing. And if there are sidewalks in your neighborhood, stay out of the street.

• If your children are old enough that being accompanied by Mom or Dad is embarrassing, have them carry a cellphone and insist that the app that allows you to see their location is activated.

• Dress for the weather. Sure, that princess outfit is adorable, but princesses — at least, Minnesota princesses — wear coats, too.

While home

• Keep the front door area well lighted. Not only is this the universally understood signal that you welcome trick or treaters, but you want your young visitors to see where they're going.

• Remove any debris that someone might trip over. It's time to take in the hose, anyway, before it freezes into a giant rubber pretzel.

• Keep your pets under control. They don't understand why people keep coming to the door and — from their perspective — trying to invade their space.


• Go through the kids' candy and remove anything that isn't commercially wrapped. And check the wrapping as you do so; if it appears to have been tampered with in any fashion, throw it away.

• Don't let your kids trade candy with their friends. What might seem benign to you — a candy bar with peanuts, for instance — could be big trouble for youngsters with allergies. Let the friends' parents decide what candy is appropriate for them.

• Ration the candy consumption. Although there is debate over whether the so-called sugar high is real, the calories the candy contains and the stomachaches that can result from overindulgence certainly are. This is when you can try to convince your kids that you actually would be doing them a favor if you consumed some of those nasty calories. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until they go to bed to raid their candy stash.