Spooky season came to Milwaukee early this year as monsters descended upon the city for the Midwest Haunters Convention.
There have been dark shadows looming throughout the history of Halloween, but these Halloween safety tips can help keep your boils and ghouls safe during trick or treat.
On Halloween night, October 31, 1974, 8-year-old Timothy O’Bryan died from eating poisoned Halloween candy after trick or treating through his neighborhood. Panic broke out over tainted candy that continues to this day with annual Halloween safety tips including a thorough inspection of your child’s trick or treat haul to make sure there are no razor blades or needles.
Timothy’s father Ryan Clark O’Bryan was later convicted for the murder of his son. He had laced Timothy’s Pixy Stix with potassium cyanide in hopes of collecting the life insurance money.
Strangers, it turned out, don’t usually try to poison random trick or treaters. But The Candy Man, or The Man Who Killed Halloween, as O’Bryan became known, gave birth to one of Halloween’s most persistent urban legends.
Another incident the year before, on Halloween 1973, the Halloween Killer Gerald Turner forever stained All Hallow’s Eve celebrations in Wisconsin when he abducted 9-year-old Lisa Ann French while she was trick or treating in Fond du Lac. Her body was found four days later.
Since then, many communities throughout the state have maintained trick or treat times that fall only during daylight hours.
These two disturbing cases might make for a macabre game of Halloween trivia, but they have also cast dark shadow over children’s creepy fun. Here are some tips to keep your ghoulish trick or treaters safe this Halloween.
Trick or Treat Safety
Accompany children when they go trick or treating. This is a good way to know how many peanut butter cups they’ve gotten.
Stay on sidewalks and paths. Even if that path goes right through the Devil Worshipper woods.
Watch out for cars and make eye contact with drivers before they cross in front of them. If there is no driver, that is a demon car and you need to run away as fast as you can.
Plan a familiar route and set a curfew. If your children are over 12 and they go out by themselves, make sure they stick to a predetermined route and get home when it’s time for the seance.
Inspect the candy before eating it. Look for opened packages, chocolate bars that may actually be human feces, and watch out for the occasional crystal meth. Also, be sure to confiscate all the peanut butter cups.
Put phones away. Just do it. Live in and the moment. Also, devices can be a distraction when crossing the road, so there’s that.
Don’t get into a stranger’s car or house. You have no idea what they do in there.
Watch out for Goatman. Seriously.
Halloween Costume Safety
Get a costume with bright colors. Sure, the dismal swamp zombie looks cool, but how easy will it be to see once the street lights come on?
Make sure the costume is the right size. You might need a bigger size so the costume will fit over warm clothes, but a costume that is too loose or has flapping parts could be a tripping hazard.
Avoid costumes with masks. Plastic and rubber Halloween masks can obscure vision, or may be potentially haunted. Use face paint instead.
Make sure costume materials are fire-resistant. You don’t want your child’s mask, wig, or other accessories to go up in flames near a candle, bonfire or tiki torch. Leave the fire stunts to the professionals.
Wrap your child in reflective tape and glow sticks. Give them a flashlight. Whatever will make them visible to drivers.
Use non-toxic makeup. Unless your child wants to be the real life Toxic Avenger. And make sure to wash it all off before bed to avoid eye infections.
Beware pointy props. When the streets start getting dark and the orange pumpkin bucket is getting heavy, swords, wands or other props may become hazardous to walking and/or eyeballs. Impalement is sure to put a damper on an otherwise enjoyable trick or treat experience.