HOUSTON -

A few simple steps can help keep your family safe on Halloween, whether you are trick-or-treating, heading to a party or staying at home.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office, the Houston Police Department and the Houston Fire Department share some important tips.

Tips for Children:

  • Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.
  • Never go trick-or-treating alone.
  • Never go inside a stranger's house.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Cross only at intersections.
  • Carry a glow-stick or flashlight.
  • Have parents check all treats before you eat them.
  • Don't eat candy if the package is already opened. Do not eat any unwrapped food.

Tips for Adults:

  • Help children choose a safe, reflective costume.
  • Make sure a responsible adult is with young children. Never let them walk alone.
  • Drive slowly and use extra caution at night.
  • Report any suspicious activity.
  • Go to the HCSO's website at www.hcso.hctx.net and click on the "Crime Reports" box. Use it to identify the locations and names of registered sex offenders in your area, and then make sure kids avoid those homes.
  • You can report suspicious activity and/or persons anonymously by using the HCSO's free mobile phone app, iWatchHarrisCounty. If you see something, say something.

HFD Tips for safe Trick-or-Treating:

  • Wear reflective clothing
  • Make sure costumes are flame-retardant
  • Illuminate pumpkins with flashlights
  • Keep burning Jack-o-Lanterns away from curtains and combustible items
  • Masks should have eye holes large enough to prevent visual obstructions
  • Children should wait to eat their candy until they get home
  • Be alert for cars that are turning into or out of driveways
  • Be cautious of strangers
  • Only approach houses where the outside lights are on.
  • If you feel threatened or in danger while trick-or-treating, you can go to any Houston Fire or Police Station.
  • For more information, the Houston Police Department has more tips on its website.

Tips for Pets

The Houston Humane Society has tips to ensure pets have a happy and healthy Halloween.

  • If you plan to hand out candy this season, be sure your dog or cat is secure (whether in a crate or another room).  Many pets escape through frequently opened doors.
  • Be sure all pets are wearing collars with ID tags.  Many of us leave collars and tags off from time to time, but this time of year it is imperative that you don’t forget to put their identification on them. Constant doorbell ringing, frequent visitors, and disruption in their normal routine can spook even the most well-adjusted pet.  If your pet does dart out, you want to make sure they have their ID.
  • Keep candy out of your pet’s reach.  Many types of candy and chocolate can be harmful to pets.
  • Jack O’ Lanterns can be fun and festive, but watch those candles. A darting cat or dog can accidentally tip them over and create a fire hazard!  Consider switching to battery operated tea lights this year.
  • Everyone loves costumes. But make sure the costume is not restrictive or overly annoying to your pet.  And be careful of anything that dangles!  You don’t want your pet to choke!