Trick-Or-Treat: Staying Safe on Halloween in Morgantown

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Trick-or-treating has been a popular part of Halloween for decades, but there can be safety concerns. Parents should plan ahead before taking their children trick-or-treating. Photo courtesy of Greg Corio.

Halloween is a popular holiday especially among children, but it has only been celebrated for a short time. All Hallow’s Eve as it was originally called, came to the US via a wave of immigrants who came Ireland, England, and Scotland. Trick-or-treating was not always a part of Halloween; it originally spread from western United States. Trick-or-treating was first given national attention in October of 1947 .

In the 1990s, trick-or-treating began to change due to many factors such as the rise of people living in apartment buildings and the rise in non-traditional households. However, there are some safety concerns associated with trick or treating.

Trick-or-treating in Morgantown can be a challenge. As a college town, sometimes it’s hard to decide what path to take, and where to take your child. The likelihood of college kids participating in handing out candy is slim. It’s probably best to avoid neighborhoods near campus, and apartment complexes that are populated by a majority of college students. Planning a route in advance and sticking to paths you and your child are familiar with is often the best choice. By sticking close to home, you can avoid frustration and sore legs for both you and your child. For the Morgantown area, where houses and neighborhoods are spread out, many parents choose to stick to their street or block when it comes to trick-or-treating and then choose other alternatives offered by the city.

“We only take our children to neighbors that we know,” said mother Tara Hartley. “You have to make safety a priority.”

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Planning a route before venturing out to trick-or-treat is best to ensure safety. Know the neighborhood and trust the people. Photo courtesy of Tara Hartley.

Halloween often happens when it’s dark creating a variety of issues when it comes to crossing the street with small children. Staying well-lit is a great way to avoid this issue.  Plan for costumes that are bright and reflective. Consider adding reflective tape to the costume or trick or treat bags for added safety. In addition, carry a flashlight with fresh batteries, just incase there’s an unlit area along your trick-or-treating path. Morgantown has tried to cut down on trick-or-treating in the dark. The city is starting trick-or-treat at 6:00pm this year. If you have young children, city officials suggest taking them early before it gets dark outside to ensure the best safety.

Make sure costumes are short and comfortable. To avoid minor accidents such as your child tripping and falling, make sure all costumes are short and do not drag the ground. Tripping can be dangerous, especially at night. Hemming your child’s costume to an appropriate length, and making sure your child has comfortable shoes they can walk in, can be helpful to avoid minor injuries.  In addition, avoiding masks could be a good idea. Masks can often make it difficult for your child to see and breathe, both of which could be potential problems.

Finally, regardless of where you live, Morgantown or not, it’s a good idea to check out your child’s candy before you let them eat anything. While it doesn’t happen as often as people think, candy tampering does happen.  It’s always a good idea to use caution and check just to be safe. Throw away any candy that is not in its original wrapper, or looks as though it has been opened.

Small communities and housing developments in Morgantown are looking at alternatives while keeping trick-or-treating door to door.

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Some communities in Morgantown have chosen to make trick-or-treating a community event. By loading children up into one truck for a trick-or-treating hayride and driving them from house to house, children can stay safe while having fun. Photo courtesy of Greg Corio.

“A few years ago one of my neighbors decided to organize a neighborhood trick-or-treat hayride where all the kids go out together, transported around the neighborhood in a trailer filled with hay and being towed by a pick-up truck that belongs to one of our neighbors,” explained Morgantown Resident, Emily Corio. “Most all of the parents go too. It’s really turned into an annual neighborhood event.  This year we had two pick-up trucks and trailers full of people.  We start in the late afternoon, when it’s still light out, but the kids have glow sticks they use when it gets dark.  The kids think they’re fun toys, but the glow sticks also make it easier to see the kids running from house to house once it’s darker, which is important in our neighborhood where there are no street lamps.  I think keeping all of the kids together with a lot of parental supervision makes trick or treating in our neighborhood safer since the houses are spread out and there are no sidewalks or streetlights.”

In addition to these tips, many businesses in the community are offering safer trick-or-treating opportunities. For example, in Monongalia County, the Morgantown mall hosts “Malloween” annually. The event offers a Halloween costume contest for children and pets. Stores put out candy for the trick-or-treaters to enjoy during the events.  BOPARC also hosts a Trick or Treat Spooktacular. This event takes place in downtown Morgantown. Local downtown businesses participate in handing out candy to trick-or-treaters from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Afterwards, guests are invited to head to the Metropolitan Theatre for a free show by Extreme Illusions and Escapes.

Trick-or-treating in Morgantown will be held Thursday, October 31, 2013 from 6:00 p.m to 7:30 p.m.

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7 thoughts on “Trick-Or-Treat: Staying Safe on Halloween in Morgantown

  1. When I was growing up, I distinctly remember my mom digging through the candy my brother and I received as soon as we got home, and I can’t tell you how much we ended up throwing away. Some pieces looked as if they had be opened and re-sealed, and some were too small and my mom was concerned they would be a choking hazard. 15% of all choking incidents involving children are caused by hard candy, so this is definitely an issue parents need to watch out for.

  2. Whitney,

    Great post. Even though the initial information is pretty general, you bring it together in the second half of your post and relate it to Morgantown-specific issues and events. I think this would be a great resource for parents in Morgantown to use this week!

    • Thanks Maddi, I felt like some of the information was very general, but when I talked to some city officials and parents around here, they all agreed that because some of this information is so common, people often disregard it. I really wanted to include it just to make people stop and consider because they often overlook it. I was really excited to learn that Morgantown is taking it upon themselves as specific communities to provide alternatives such as the hayride. I think that’s a really cool idea for the kids.

  3. This was a good read, though it may slightly violate Doctor Britten’s “no advice” directive.

    I specially liked the historical context of Halloween you established at the beginning. One learns something new every day.

  4. Pingback: Morgantown Problems | Morgantown’s Best Neighborhoods for Trick or Treating

  5. Great use of links in this post. The links add perspectives that enrich the post, taking it beyond the “just advice” realm (though in this instance, advice is inherent in the topic). Most importantly, the topic is something readers should know about, and you cover it thoroughly.

  6. This is fine general information, it’s reasonably well sourced, and it’s timely in the sense of “It’s Halloween,” but there’s not much distinctive to Morgantown here. You have some potential: The lede is buried in the third graf (tell us why we in Morgantown should care), and the last graf brings it back to the local. These two sections have potential for building something a bit more newsworthy around.

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