Tweens and teens like to go #trick-or-treating on their own, Nationwide Children’s says. But parents can review a few safety tips to ensure they engage in #Halloween fun safely. Review safe walking routes; remind them to visit only homes where the porch light is on and to never enter a strange house or car. If your child is already driving, ask them to obey traffic safety laws and avoid distractions such as cell phones while driving, avoiding prime trick-or-treating hours when younger, costumed kids may be present. “Children get excited during trick-or-treating and may dart out into the road without looking.”
#Halloween can be stressful for #pets even if no fireworks are involved. Dogs may act upon their natural instinct to protect the home and bark when strangers ring the bell, the Humane Society of the United States says, making trick-or-treating stressful for everyone involved; cats also prefer a quiet environment. Before the #kids start arriving, put pets in a quiet room, and supply them with a treat some soft music. Consider meeting #trick-or-treaters on the porch to minimize doorbell ringing. And keep candy safely stashed and secured — foods such as chocolate, gum and xylitol are toxic to pets.
Decorating for #Halloween can be a creative and joyous event. But be aware of fire risks and other #hazards as you prepare to #spook the neighborhood kids, says Travelers Insurance. Walk the property before trick-or-treaters arrive to ensure you haven’t created a tripping hazard with temporary extension cords, for example, and that obstacles are clearly marked. Arrange decorations with traffic flow in mind, and even though darkness is #scarier, make walkways and entryways well-lit. Take care not to overload electrical outlets, and avoid using the use of open flames such as candles — they can easily be kicked over or ignite costume materials.
#Halloween is a magical event for kids, with free candy and dress-up fun. Make sure your trick-or-treaters are safe on the sidewalks and streets, says the National Safety Council. A costume shouldn’t be a safety hazard, so choose costumes, wigs and accessories that are fire-resistant. If #children are going out after dark, fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags, or give them glowsticks. Choose nontoxic makeup instead of masks, which can obscure vision, and remove makeup before bed to prevent eye and skin irritation. Children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween, so have a responsible adult accompany young children on their rounds.
At #Halloween time, people love to have a little fun with the phobias that scare them. Houses get bedecked with #spectres and #spiderwebs, and children dress up in #ghoulish, #gory costumes to roam the neighborhoods’ front porches in search of free candy.
But the really #scary stuff may be INSIDE THE HOUSE. Overstuffed closets that don’t shut. Heaping toy bins. Stacks of books and papers that list under their own weight. Shelves jammed with boxes of rejects and extras. That’s right: Your house is #haunted by #clutter.
Many of the things creating the clutter may be uncomfortable to look at — clothing that no longer fits or has gone out of style, for example. It’s embarrassing to look at, so you shove it to the back of the closet and try to forget about it.
Or those extra knickknacks that didn’t find a place in your new home (and never will). Isn’t it best, you might think, to just box them up and put them on a shelf in hopes that someday they will fit in to your decor?
No! Get rid of them now, and you’ll say goodbye to those embarrassments while creating new space in your home for the things you use and love. Along the way, you’ll reduce the anxiety that having a cramped, disorganized and cluttered home can produce.
Scary Mommy says that clutter produces an ominous dread in her that’s worse than any installment of the Friday the 13th franchise. “Cleaning up clutter is not just another thing on the to-do list like packing my kids’ lunches. It’s a full-on ragey kind of panic.
“It’s the feeling that I literally can’t breathe with all the clutter that’s filling our house,” she says. “It’s a feeling that the world is a chaotic place that I can’t control, and all of that chaos is represented by the loud, unruly, angsty wreck that is my living room.”
Chaos is scary. But the #decluttering process is also scary, because it demands that you go through all of that broken, disused and extra stuff and make snap decisions about what can stay and what should go.
In the spirit of the season, resolve to face those fears. Pick a disorganized, overstuffed shelf, closet or room and begin. It may be uncomfortable, embarrassing or frightening at first, but as your space slowly gets more organized, you’ll feel the anxiety lift.
If you find anything that may still be useful to other people as you declutter, bag it up and contact ClothingDonations.org for a donation pickup. Like giving out candy, you’ll be cheered to donate something knowing that it will assist veterans year-round.
And that may just make decluttering feel like a trick and a treat. Happy Halloween!