Kids have been counting down the days until Halloween since, well, pretty much the day after last Halloween. And it’s finally here. To help ensure they — and you — have a safe holiday, here’s a compilation of tips:

    • Plan a route in advance. “Trick-or-treating could take you several streets away from your house, which can cause sore legs and a bit of frustration. Avoid long paths by mapping out a route before leaving the house. Stick to paths that you and your child are familiar with to avoid getting lost.” — Reader’s Digest
    • Be alert when driving. “Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.” — safekids.org
    • Use sidewalks. “Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.” — safekids.org
    • Choose homes wisely. “Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.” — American Academy of Pediatrics
    • Keep your home safe. “To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.” — American Academy of Pediatrics
    • Protect your pumpkins. “Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.” — American Academy of Pediatrics
    • Use a flashlight. “Obtain flashlights — with fresh batteries — for all children and their escorts. If you only have one, make sure that person is alert at all times for the entire group.” — American Academy of Pediatrics
    • What if conversations. “Have “what if?” conversations with your child. What would you do if someone bigger and older took your candy? By preparing them for every eventuality, you’re giving yourself and your child some peace of mind.” — education.com
    • Proceed with caution. “When trick-or-treating, tell your child to accept candy only when the door is open, and to never go inside someone’s house, except in an emergency. This counts for neighbors, older brothers of friends, and anyone else your child might encounter, as well as strangers.” — education.com
    • Check — not trick — all treats. “When your kids get home, check all treats to make sure they’re sealed. Throw out candy with torn packages or holes in the packages, spoiled items and any homemade treats that haven’t been made by someone you know.” — kidshealth.org