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ITHACA, N.Y. — The Ithaca Fire Department has shared some tips for parents to keep their “little witches and goblins” safe this Halloween.

Do your flashlights have fresh batteries? Do your kids’ costumes have their names on them? Here are 13 things the IFD says to keep in mind before and after trick or treating:

  1. Choose a light-colored costume or add glow-in-the-dark tape to the front and back of the costume so your kids can be easily seen
  2. Make sure the costume is labeled “flame-retardant.” This means the material won’t burn
  3. Put a name tag — with your phone number — on your children’s costumes.
  4. Accompany young children (under age 10) on their rounds. But make sure they know their home phone number, the cell phone numbers of parents and any other trusted adult who’s supervising, and how to call 911 in case they get lost
  5. For older kids who are trick-or-treating on their own, make sure you approve of the route they’ll be taking and know when they’ll be coming home. Also be sure that they:
  6. Carry a cell phone, go in a group and stay together
  7. Only go to houses with porch lights on and walk on sidewalks on lit streets
  8. Never go into strangers’ homes or cars
  9. Give kids flashlights with new batteries
  10. Limit trick-or-treating to your neighborhood and the homes of people you and your children know
  11. When your kids get home, check all treats to make sure they’re safely sealed and there are no signs of tampering, such as small pinholes, loose or torn packages, and packages that appear to have been taped or glued back together.
  12. While children can help with designing a Pumpkin/Jack O’ Lantern, leave the carving to adults
  13. Use battery operated candles instead of open flames.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.