Ghosts and goblins need to be safe, too

by Brig. Gen. Rich Johnston
KMC and 86th Airlift Wing commander

***image1***The beautifully-colored leaves are falling and the temperatures are dropping — it is almost Halloween.

All KMC children are invited to come on base and trick or treat on Halloween from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in the KMC housing areas (Ramstein, Vogelweh and Sembach). Once the children have filled up their bags, I would recommend all parents take advantage of the free candy scanning service at the Ramstein Passenger Terminal’s X-ray machine. The 723rd Air Mobility Squadron will offer candy scanning Halloween night from 6 to 10 p.m. and Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon.

In order to fully enjoy Halloween traditions, I would like to offer a few safety tips:

Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers, then parents can do the cutting. Lighted pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.

To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove anything a child could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.  Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently bite a trick-or-treater because they are frightened.

A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.

Remind trick-or-treaters to stay in a group and communicate where they will be going. They should only go to homes with a porch light on, and remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk on the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.

Never cut across yards or use alleys and never enter a stranger’s home or car for a treat. When possible, only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Don’t assume the right of way as motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. And remember, just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!

When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant. Select costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.

A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats. This should help appease their appetites and limit unsupervised sampling of treats before they are checked by an adult.

Some additional safety tips for parents to consider this Halloween are:

If older children are not accompanied while trick-or-treating, parents should ensure their children wear a watch and know when their curfew is so they get home on time. 

Parents should also make sure their kids have some money to call from a pay phone, if needed. Better yet, if the kids have a cell phone, it makes it easier for them to call you and vice versa.

Have a flashlight handy for night time spooking. It should be turned on while walking on or near roads.  Make certain the batteries will last for several hours.  

Drivers beware; expect the unexpected. Slow down in residential areas and remember that trick-or-treaters have the right of way. For the sake of our kids, don’t drink and drive, not even one drink.

Everyone in the KMC can help keep all our little ghosts and goblins safe this Halloween. (For KMC Halloween events, see page 13)