Halloween safety tips for celebrating at home or if you're going out

Halloween is just days away and many parents and families are getting ready to get out and have some spooky fun – here are some tips to keep it fun and not dangerous.

For kids who are hitting the pavement on Sunday night, wear bright costumes to be visible in the dark. Use flashlights and reflective tape should be used so drivers can see you.

Never enter a stranger's home or car and only visit well-lit homes. Cross at the crosswalk and don't dart out from between cars, stick to sidewalks. Don't eat any candy that's been opened,

Drivers should avoid neighborhood shortcuts, if possible. If you can't, slow down, put down all distractions, and pay close attention to the roads. According to a AAA study, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to die from being hit by a car going 35-miles per hour than one traveling 25-miles per hour.

6th Street is expected to be hopping with Halloween partiers this weekend. If you plan to wear a costume, leave anything that looks like a real-life weapon at home, they're illegal. 

Also, keep in mind the Austin Police Department is currently running a year-long no refusal initiative. Anyone suspected of driving drunk who refuses a breathalyzer will be forced by a court order to provide a blood or breath sample. So if you're heading downtown and plan to drink, police urge that you have a designated driver, call a cab or rideshare or take the bus or train.

If you're hosting a Halloween party, watch your guests and make sure they drive sober. If that's not possible, try to help them find a place to stay. Offer non-alcoholic beverages to make the night fun for designated drivers.

When it comes to decorations, make sure you clear all sidewalks, walkways, and porches around your home. Kids who are out trick-or-treating may not be paying close attention and can trip on anything that's laying in their path. If you have lights up, check to make sure there are no loose or frayed ends.

Exposed wiring may be a fire hazard. Avoid open flames, just too dangerous for you and trick-or-treaters.

The holiday season is just starting up and that's when thieves are more likely to strike, especially if they suspect you're not home and out with the kids. Prepare your home and always make it look like someone is inside.

"Thieves can strike anytime in during the middle of the day but of course they're going to be looking around the holiday time," Daniel Armbruster with AAA Texas said. "Thieves may be looking for a window of opportunity, so just make sure all your doors, windows are locked your home is well lit, your home security alarm is activated."

Don't forget about your four-legged family members this Halloween. If you're planning a costume for your pet, the ASPCA recommends doing it safely. It says outfits can cause animals unnecessary stress so make sure costumes don't restrict your pet's movement or breathing, and there aren't any loose pieces they can choke on.

If you're looking for a last-minute costume for your pet, the National Retail Foundation found the most popular include a pumpkin, hot dog, superhero, or bumblebee.

As for your kids, talk with them about staying on the sidewalk while trick-or-treating, sticking with the group, and avoiding running into the street. 

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