Back in #Philadelphia, when I helped establish a night watchman company to look after the public safety, we didn’t have that many people going about after dark. But today, it seems like so many people like to go trick or treating throughout the evening.
So, if I were still in charge of the night watchmen, here are a few safety tips that I would pass along:
1 GET REFLECTIVE. If you plan on trick-or-treating after the sun goes down, I would strongly urge you to wear some kind of reflective material with your costume, so you can be seen by others (especially people who may be driving these modern things you call “automobiles”).
2 DON’T DRAG. While it may seem stylish to wear long, trailing, shredded pants bottoms or dresses to look like a zombie or a ghost, these can be dangerous when walking or running. You could trip and stumble, ruin your costume, or even worse, get seriously hurt. Try to avoid having parts of your costume drag behind you.
3 SEE AND BE SEEN. Many folks like to wear masks and other head coverings. It is fun to pretend to scare people with your vampire, monster, or politician outfit. However, in the interest of both friendliness and safety, you might wish, at times, to remove your headgear. Seeing a smiling face begging for candy, I would think, would produce better results than a shrouded or scowling mummy. Not only that, there is your own safety to think about. If you cannot see where you are going, accidents will happen.
4 MAKE A POLITICAL STATEMENT. Speaking of scary politician costumes, some trick-or-treaters like to dress up as a political candidate, a U.S. president, or some other person or group in the news. As one who enjoys political humor, I applaud the creativity in such costume choices. Sometimes, however, you may need to ask yourself whether you’ve crossed the line with a particular outfit. For example, you wouldn’t want to wear a terrorist costume, a Nazi uniform, or a Boston Marathon bomber costume. These can all create very bad feelings, and would not make you very popular.
5 BEWARE OF FIRE. With some homemade costumes, you may be using materials you find around the house. And unfortunately, these might turn out to be very flammable. If you can avoid the use of materials like these, you will be much better off. And if not, be careful around candles, bonfires, fireplaces, camp stoves, cigarettes, and other sources of sparks, heat, or flame.
6 BE KIND TO ANIMALS. I have observed some youngsters going about trick or treating accompanied by their family dog, also wearing a costume. Since the pet may not be well-accustomed to the costume, it may not be in the best of moods. So if you happen to see one, do not assume that it will be as friendly as it might normally be in other places with less crowds and fewer strange activities going on.
7 TWO BY TWO. Sometimes it’s fun to dress up in costumes as twins or naturally related characters. For example, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Batman and Robin, French fries and Coke, the Kardashian family, peanut butter and jelly, the Wicked Witch and Snow White, etc. This is a great way to showcase your cleverness and creativity. Be careful, however, when walking by the side of the road – it may be better to go single-file, in that case.
8 LEAVE THE HARDWARE HOME. Tragically, in this day and age of war, random shootings, bombings, and other such unfortunate events, it is not a good idea to bring along props like machine guns, semiautomatic weapons, or even spears, swords, and bow-and-arrow. Number one, they could be mistaken for the real thing; and number two, if there are any realistic parts, like a sharp sword or a real Grim Reaper scythe, someone could get hurt.
9 CELLS, COMPUTERS AND TECHNOLOGY. A few random tips here: if you can, carry a cell phone, so you can stay in touch with parents or other loved ones; but when it comes to larger devices, it might not be a good idea to take along real technology as props, like flat screen TVs or laptops, which could get broken while trick-or-treating; and, of course, if you costume yourself as a computer, be careful not to catch any viruses!
10 FINALLY, IF YOU GO AS BEN FRANKLIN, at least try to be somewhat authentic and true-to-life to my persona. If your costume isn’t very realistic, you could be mistaken for Christopher Columbus, George Washington, or a Pilgrim. And please don’t carry along a kite with a metal key attached; if it should happen to rain, I wouldn’t want you risking your life repeating history through my extremely dangerous experiment with electricity. As I always say, do not try this at home.
So, that is my top ten list of simple suggestions. With proper care and precautions, of course, it should be possible to have a lot of fun this Halloween.
PS, If you should happen to want to see yours truly riding a broom in celebration of Halloween, go to Youtube to see my "defying gravity" video at https://youtu.be/BsAWxcOzFwk
Your humble servant,