Have a Safe Halloween

Have a Safe Halloween

Halloween safety tips for children and adults:

<lst>* Wear light-colored clothing that's short enough to prevent tripping and add reflective tape to the sides, front and back of costume.

* Make sure children can see well through face masks, or use cosmetics to create fun and scary faces.

* Adults should accompany young children.

* Carry a flashlight.

* Stay within the neighborhood and only visit homes you know.

* Watch for traffic.

* Only give and accept wrapped or packaged candy.

* Examine all candy before allowing children to eat it.

* Keep costumed children away from pets. The pet may not recognize the children and become frightened.

* Avoid hard plastic or wood props such as daggers or swords. Substitute with foam rubber, which is soft and flexible.

As the weekend approaches the Sheriff's Office is reminding residents that are going to an adult Halloween party to plan ahead. Loudouners are advised to plan for a cab or use a designated driver if they'll be drinking. Motorists should expect to see extra deputies on area roadways this weekend.

<bt>Halloween safety tips for pets:

<lst>* Keep pets inside. Pets, especially cats, can be vulnerable targets for pranksters on Halloween night. Keep them safe indoors to avoid possible trouble.

* More chocolate is sold on Halloween than at any other time of year. Be sure to keep pets away from candy bowls to avoid accidental ingestion of chocolate, which is harmful to dogs and cats. Also beware of candy wrappers, which can be hazardous if swallowed.

* Beware of jack-o-lanterns lighted with candles Ñ a wagging tail can easily knock it over and cause a fire hazard. Or a curious kitty can get his paws or nose burned by the flame. Use a safety glow stick or flashlight instead.

* Keep a pet safe in his own room during trick-or-treat time. A quick dog or cat can dart out a door that is opening and closing often. Also, the sight of strangely dressed people at the door can be very stressful for pets.

* Don't forget to identify a pet. Shelters are always busy around holidays with pets that have wandered away from home. An identification tag or microchip helps identify a pet so he can be returned home.

Costume Safety:

* Only dress up your pet if he is receptive to it. Don't cause undue stress on your furry friend. Use treat training to help your pet get used to his costume, but if he doesn't seem happy take it off.

* Masks are never a good idea for pets. Masks can cut off peripheral vision, making a dog or cat nervous about its surroundings. Even the best behaved dog or cat can get nippy when he can't see what's coming from the side.

* Make sure your pet's costume fits properly, and does not constrict breathing or movement. Just as with a collar, make sure you can fit two fingers in between the costume and your pet's neck.

* Inspect the costume and remove any small or dangling pieces that could become a choking hazard.

The Loudoun County Animal Shelter is holding a Halloween Homecoming Saturday, Oct. 29, from 12-4 p.m. Enter the Pet Costume Contest or the Tricks for Treats Talent Show, enjoy the Pampered Pet Cooking Class and learn about Pet First Aid. For details visit www.loudoun.gov/animals.