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WATCH: Florida police, firefighters dance to 'Thriller' for Teal Pumpkin Project

Officers and firefighters in one Florida city are showing off their dance moves in a viral video to raise awareness about food allergies this Halloween.

>> Watch the video here

According to WTSP, the Tarpon Springs police and fire departments re-created Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video for the Teal Pumpkin Project. The annual campaign by Food Allergy Research & Education aims to make Halloween "more fun and inclusive for millions of children with food allergies and other dietary restrictions," according to its website. Participants place a teal pumpkin on their doorstep and offer non-food treats like toys to trick-or-treaters. Learn more here.

>> Read more trending news

The police and fire departments also are raising money for the nonprofit CURED, the Campaign Urging Research for Eosinophilic Disease. According to a police press release, "many children with Eosinophilic diseases cannot eat or ingest food orally." To make a donation, visit the foundation's website here.

Paris and Prince Jackson show off Halloween costumes on the red carpet

After hitting the red carpet on Tuesday, Paris and Prince Jackson made another rare red carpet appearance three days later, showing off their Halloween costumes in the process.

>> Kim Kardashian West dressed up as Cher for Halloween, and people are loving it

The brother and sister stepped out together for the Heal LA and TLK Fusion Present the second annual Costume for a Cause at the Jackson family home in California, People reported. Paris sported a purple dragon costume with matching slippers and white face paint. Meanwhile, Prince donned a black-and-white body suit.

>> Hoda Kotb shows off baby daughter's adorable 1st Halloween costume

Paris shared a cute behind-the-scenes video on Instagram, showing her brother giving her a piggyback ride in costume.

>> See the video here

>> On Rare.us: Prince Jackson and Paris Jackson make a rare appearance on the red carpet together

Earlier this week, the pair appeared on the red carpet for an event at the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. Paris, who was Taylor’s goddaughter, recently became an ambassador for the foundation.

>> Read more trending news

“It’s very rare that you see someone with that kind of influence really use their platform for something so important," Paris said of Taylor at an ETAF benefit dinner on Thursday. "She wasn’t going to let the HIV/AIDS pandemic run wild as it directly impacted her friends and loved ones.”

Hoda Kotb shows off baby daughter's adorable 1st Halloween costume

Hoda Kotb is so excited to celebrate her baby girl Haley Joy’s first Halloween that she showed off her little one’s adorable costume ahead of the big night, People reports.

>> Kim Kardashian West dressed up as Cher for Halloween, and people are loving it

“I couldn’t wait!” Kotb captioned a photo of Haley donning a plush Jack-o’-lantern costume and a huge smile.

>> See the photo here

>> On Rare.us: Hoda Kotb shares yet another precious photo of her daughter Haley 'just because'

The “Today” host adopted Haley back in February, and her life hasn’t been the same since, saying, “There’s a line of demarcation: before Haley and after Haley. Every day after Haley is better than every single day before.”

>> Read more trending news 

Kotb is now navigating motherhood for the first time with some help from boyfriend and the man Hayley calls dad, Joel Schiffman. The proud mom has been active about sharing pictures and milestones with fans on social media.

>> On Rare.us: Hoda Kotb’s latest picture of her 'everything,' daughter Haley Joy, just might be the cutest one yet

“It’s one of those things where you think you’ve done it all, you think you’ve felt it all. But I just didn’t know that this kind of love existed,” Kotb said after welcoming Haley Joy into her life.

Kim Kardashian West dressed up as Cher for Halloween, and people are loving it

After channeling her on the September cover of Harper’s Bazaar, Kim Kardashian West dressed up as her icon Cher again for Halloween, and fans can’t get enough of her costume, which replicated the singer’s look at the 1973 Academy Awards, People reports.

>> Read more trending news

“Cher definitely has a better body,” Kardashian West said on Periscope. “Her stomach … I don’t think anyone could compare.”

The reality TV star donned a long black wig and a custom-made replica of Cher’s infamous outfit. Her best friend, Jonathan Cheban, stood in as Sonny. She shared several videos and pictures of her ensemble on social media, even teasing fans with hints about her costume before the big reveal.

>> See the tweet here

“Because I love her and we’re going to a ’70s party. You know I love her,” she said about her costume.

Not only did Cher herself approve of Kardashian West’s costume, writing on Twitter, “Woke To See You Are Me 4 [Halloween] You Look BEAUTIFUL Little Armenian Sister,” but fans made it known they loved the look, as well:

>> See Cher's tweet here

The spooky history of Halloween: 7 things you never knew

More than 179 million Americans are slated to participate in this year’s Halloween festivities, according to the National Retail Foundation, and the season is forecast to reach a spending high of $9.1 billion.

>> Read more trending news 

» RELATED: The 15 hottest Halloween costumes of 2017, according to Google

In 2016, according to NRF, total spending hit a record $8.4 billion.

The history of this crazed holiday and its spooky traditions dates back more than 2,000 years. 

Here are 7 things you probably never knew about Halloween:

It all started with an ancient Celtic festival.

Halloween’s spooky origins come from an ancient Celtic festival for the dead called Samhain (or “Summer’s End”).

» RELATED: The 5 best and worst states to go trick-or-treating

The Celts, who lived in the region now known as Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France thousands of years ago, celebrated Samhain on Nov. 1 to mark the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of a new year, kicking off with the bitter cold winter, a season typically associated with death. 

According to History.com, the Celts believed that the night before the new year “the lines between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred” and ghosts of the dead returned to earth and ravaged the crops. They also believed the ghosts and “otherworldly spirits” gave Celtic priests, or Druids, a vision into the future.

“For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter,” according to History.com.

And so, on the eve of Samhain (Oct. 31), Druids built enormous bonfires and the Celts, dressed in costumes made of animal heads and skins, sacrificed their crops and animals to the Celtic gods.

When the Samhain celebrations were coming to an end, the Celts re-lit their hearth fires with fire from the sacred bonfire built by the Druids in hopes that its heat will keep them safe during the coming winter.

Why is it called Halloween?

The moniker comes from Catholicism’s All-hallowmas, a three-day holiday honoring the saints and recently deceased.

During the 7th century, Christianity spread throughout Celtic lands and influenced Celtic religion and popular traditions, including the famous Samhain holiday.

History.com notes, “it’s widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related church-sanctioned holiday.”

» RELATED: Afraid of clowns? You're not alone.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III decreed Nov. 1 All Saints’ Day and the evening before, All Hallows Eve. Nov. 2 later became All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead.

The All Saints’ Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas. In Middle English, “Alholowmesse” translates to All Saints’ Day.

The night before All Saints’ Day, which is the traditional night of the Celtic Samhain festival, eventually became known as All-Hallows Eve and later, Halloween.

Where did trick-or-treating come from?

The notion of dressing up in costume and going from door to door for goods dates back to the Middle Ages, according to Smithsonian.com.

“Children and sometimes poor adults would dress up [as saints, angels or demons costumes] and go around door to door during Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers, often said on behalf of the dead.”

» RELATED: Halloween 2017: Best trick or treat times

According to Smithsonian.com, back then it wasn’t called trick-or-treating. It was called “souling” and the beggars were called “soulers.”

The practice of trick-or-treating emerged in the U.S. in the 1920s and 1930s.

But the earliest known reference to the term “trick or treat” actually comes from a 1927 publication in Canada.

Here’s what the Smithsonian found in the Nov. 4, 1927, edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald:

“Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.”

Still, how exactly Americans adopted the tradition is still a little confusing, History.com reported, though it’s widely understood that Irish and Scottish immigrants brought Halloween traditions to the U.S. with them.

Theorists also say it could have been the excessive pranks on Halloween that led to its adoption as a holiday tradition. 

These pranks were popular among “rowdy young people” and often amounted to expensive damage, vandalism and physical violence.

When World War II broke out, however, trick-or-treating came to a halt due to sugar rationing.

Today, Americans spend millions on costumes annually to partake in the door-to-door tradition.

How did Protestants feel about Halloween?

During Reformation, the holiday came under attack by some Protestants with rigid belief systems who denounced purgatory as a “popish” doctrine.

Purgatory is a Roman Catholic theology that refers to a state between life and death, where one would have to “undergo purification” to enter heaven. It’s often regarded as a temporary state of suffering.

As aforementioned, Halloween dates back to the Celtic Samhain festival on Oct. 31, when “the lines between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred” and spread through Europe as a holiday with traditions for the souls in purgatory.

The Protestants believe the Bible does not explicitly discuss purgatory and, therefore, rejected it as a biblical belief.

They believed salvation is achieved through faith alone and souls cannot journey from this state of purgatory to heaven.

While many celebrate Halloween on Oct. 31, many rigid Protestants celebrate Reformation Day, commemorating a major period of religious change in Europe and the day German theologian Martin Luther’s proposals were nailed on the doors of a church in 1517.

Today, many contemporary Protestant communities celebrate Halloween as a fun family event.

In his 1998 book, “A Companion to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts,” Christian minister Sam Portaro wrote that Halloween is about using “humor and ridicule to confront the power of death.”

How did Halloween gain popularity in the United States?

It wasn’t until the second half of the 19th century that Halloween really started to gain popularity. That’s due to an influx of Irish immigrants fleeing the Irish Potato Famine.

But due to rigid Protestant belief systems in colonial New England, the holiday wasn’t as popular in those regions. 

According to History.com, the holiday and its traditions were much more common in the southern colonies and in Maryland, where folks would tell ghost stories and play pranks.

What’s up with jack-o’-lanterns?

The origin of the angry orange pumpkin (or jack-o’-Lantern) comes from a Celtic folk tale of a miserly farmer named Jack who constantly played tricks on the devil. His nickname was “Stingy Jack.”

» RELATED: How a teal pumpkin can save a child’s life

According to History.com, for one of his tricks, Stingy Jack invited the devil to join him for a drink. Once they were together, he pretended not to have any money to pay for his beverage and convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin they could use to buy the drinks.

The devil did so, but instead of paying for the drinks, Jack kept the coin in his pocket, where he also kept his silver cross.

This, he believed, prevented the devil from returning to his original form.

But eventually, after performing multiple tricks on the devil, Jack died. Legend says God wouldn’t let a man like him into heaven. And the devil, unsurprisingly angry with Jack and his cons, wouldn’t let him into hell, either.

Instead, the devil sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light the way, History.com reported. Jack put the burning coal into “a carved-out turnip” and has been roaming the planet since.

Irishmen began to refer to Stingy Jack as “Jack of the Lantern” and later, “Jack O’Lantern.”

Throughout Europe, Englishmen used large beets or turnips or even potatoes to create the lanterns. When immigrants came to America, pumpkins were adopted.

Today, the jack-o’-lantern in pumpkin form is a staple in Halloween decor.

Why are black cats associated with Halloween?

Black cats are another creepy Halloween symbol dating back the Middle Ages, but theorists say their association with Halloween may originate from Puritan pilgrims of Plymouth County, a group that lived a rigid Protestant lifestyle.

Legend has it that witches, who many believed worshiped the devil, would protect their identities by turning themselves into black cats.

The Puritans, along with other strict Protestants, often shunned witchcraft and other Halloween traditions as going against their belief system.

Unfortunately, due to all of the superstitions around black cats, the creatures have some of the lowest adoption rates and the highest euthanasia rates of all cats, according to Smithsonian.com.

And for decades, many animal shelters have refused to adopt out black cats on or right before Halloween out of fear they will be tortured or sacrificed, according to Gizmodo.

“This is a time when blood rituals take place,” Hedy Litke, director of animal placement at the ASPCA, told K.C. Baker for the New York Daily News in 1999. “Black cats are often sacrificed.”

Learn more about the history of Halloween at history.com.

Trump tombstone at elementary school's Halloween party stirs controversy

A Halloween party at an elementary school in Gloucester, Massachusetts, featured a controversial decoration – a tombstone with the president's name on it

>> Watch the news report here

Apparently, one of the parents brought the tombstone labeled "Don Trump" to West Parish Elementary School's recent "Halloween Happenings" party. 

"It's not a place to put out a political agenda of any kind. And it upsets me that somebody would think it was appropriate to expose young children to it," said Amanda Orlando Kesterson, chair of the Gloucester Republican Committee. 

It's no surprise Kesterson is defending a Republican president, but she also maintains she would do the same for any president, regardless of politics.

>> Read more trending news

"I had very many difficulties with many of the things President Obama did ... but the office of the president deserves respect," Kesterson said. 

She says the tombstone wasn't removed even after she complained to the principal about it. 

"While, according to the parent, this was designated to be humorous, a number of attendees rightfully felt that it showed disrespect," Telena S. Imel, the principal of West Parish Elementary, said in a statement. "In planning future events, it will be made clear to organizers that school is not the place to engage in or display political agendas or opinions." 

Halloween 2017: Best trick or treat times

While the best time to trick or treat is usually on Halloween itself, it is important to recognize neighborhood and community guidelines. Heading out during the best trick or treat times can also maximize the candy haul for your little superhero or princess. After all, that’s what the holiday is about for many kids and kids at heart.Here's the strategy parenting and health experts developed for the best trick-or-treat times: The day of the week: You'll need to plan a little differently when Halloween falls on a Friday or Saturday, when you can potentially stay out a little later but might want to head home before you're coping with drunk drivers from costume parties.Another tricky situation is when Halloween falls on a Sunday. The biggest issues are whether trick-or-treating will clash with the church crowd. If your city doesn't determine whether trick-or-treating will occur on Saturday instead, you'll need to survey the neighbors to see what their plans are. Most debates online settle on sticking with Oct. 31 for trick-or-treating regardless of the day of the week, but your area might be different. What your town says: Be aware that many towns and municipalities now set aside specific times for trick-or-treating. You can usually find them on your city or community's web page or in a community posting group like NextDoor.com. If you're just looking for a general idea, most areas allow (or encourage) trick-or-treating between 4 and 9 p.m. Dark or no dark? You'll definitely want to anticipate when it will get dark when you're planning what time to trick or treat. According to the How to Adult blog, the sun will most likely set between 6:30 and 7 p.m. on Halloween, depending on your location, and it will get dark by 7:30 p.m.If you have young children, you may want to go to a few houses while it's still light if they're afraid of the dark (or you're afraid of the after-dark vibe in your  target area.) If you do opt to be out trick-or-treating after dark,  Verywell recommended making each child more visible by having them carry something that lights up, whether glow bracelet, flashlight or flashing attire. Light-up shoes were another good idea. Plan your route: It may seem like overkill, but way too many car accidents happen between 5 and 7 p.m. and kids come to harm while trick-or-treating all too often. Safety experts recommend that adults do a bit of prep on the trick-or-treating route before deciding on the best trick or treat times. Check the route during daylight hours for broken sidewalks or places where you can't safely walk and also figure out how long it will take you to complete your circuit. That way, you can allow more time by starting earlier or cut a few houses from your plans if you want to be home early or before dark. Also look over the route if your tween will be out with a group of friends and make sure the kids carry a cellphone for emergencies. The recommended time: The ideal times for most families to trick or treat is 6:30 to 8 p.m., according to How to Adult. This is the time period when people are usually home from work and ready to participate in festivities. A 6:30 p.m. trick or treat start time also gives kids plenty of time to eat dinner and put on their costumes. For extended periods: If you plan to trick or treat for more than an hour or so, prepare yourself and the kids. Choose shoes that fit well and have been worn before, pick costumes that won't drag on the ground and are bathroom-friendly and plan to stop at a friend's house for water and bathroom breaks, How to Adult recommends. To get the most candy: Hey, Halloween only comes once a year. Your kids can be forgiven if they want to trick or treat during times that yield the most, or the best, candy at the end of the night. To time trick-or-treating for the maximum haul, start with the areas that are going to have the most or best candy first. Experts told Readers Digest that the longer you stay out on Halloween night, the worse the quality of candy gets, but you might end up with more in quantity, because people are anticipating you might be one of their last groups. If you have older kids who are ready to tote and walk without complaining, consider taking a last lap in a dense-population neighborhood or spot well-known for welcoming trick-or-treaters. If you think it's going to be tough to carry that much candy the rest of the way, consider a quick detour to drop off the first batch of treats after you've covered the main drags.When to wrap it up: On a school night Halloween, the best time to wrap up the trick-or-treating is between 8:30 and 9 p.m. as families and others start their rituals for the next day, according to Diane Gottsman, a nationally recognized etiquette expert and blogger at Hitched. You may keeping going for an hour or so later if Halloween falls on a Friday or Saturday. For those handing out treats, when you’re all out of candy or ready to call it a night, make sure to turn off your outdoor lights and take in any fresh pumpkins or jack-o’-lanterns to avoid after-hours tricksters, added Gottsman. 

Company pulls Anne Frank children’s costume after criticism

A few weeks ahead of Halloween, a costume company has pulled an online listing for an Anne Frank outfit.

>> Read more trending news

The costume was removed from HalloweenCostumes.com Sunday after customers and other internet users found the listing distasteful. 

The costume featured a blue long-sleeved dress with an elastic beret and an over the shoulder brown bag. The item’s description read as follows: 

“We can always learn from the struggles of history! Unfortunately, World War II shook the world in a way that no one could have foreseen. It ... created some unexpected heroes, where even a young girl like Anne Frank with nothing but a diary and hope could become an inspiration to us all. We can all learn from someone like that!”

Social media users criticized the costume and wondered why workers at the company thought it was appropriate. 

Ross Walker Smith, who works as a public relations specialist with HalloweenCostumes.com responded to the criticism with a statement. 

“We sell costumes not only for Halloween, but for many uses outside of the Halloween season, such as school projects and plays,” he wrote. “We offer several types of historically accurate costumes, from prominent figures to political figures to television characters ... We have passed along the feedback regarding this costume, and it has been removed from the website at this time.”

Smith apologized on behalf of the company for any offense the costume may have caused.

Top Halloween food safety tips

From bobbing for apples at a party to devouring a bucket of candy, food is definitely a big part of enjoying Halloween. But it can also lead to problems such as food-related illnesses, allergic reactions or even incidents such as choking.

>> Read more trending news

The following top Halloween food safety tips from the FDA  and the CDC will help keep your guests and little ghosts and goblins safe.

Prevent an allergic reactionIf your child has a food allergy, the following can let them enjoy their Halloween haul while avoiding any problematic foods:Look for teal pumpkinsFamilies who display teal pumpkins offer non-candy treats for trick-or-treaters who may have allergies.Check all treatsMake sure your child knows not to eat any candy before you check it at home. Look for ingredient lists on pre-packaged candy, and throw out any homemade treats since you can’t positively identify their ingredients.Buy treats for your childBuy some small trinkets (check out the non-candy suggestions listed below) to give your children on Halloween. That way, if they end up not being able to eat much of their candy, they won’t feel left out. Exchange or donate what your child can’t eatFind a local Halloween Candy Buy Back event in your area where kids can exchange candy for cash or prizes. You can also donate candy to active duty service members or other organizations. Check for signs of tamperingAlthough tampering with candy is rare, it does happen. The CDC recommends consuming only factory-sealed food items. Look for any evidence of the following:

  • An unusual appearance
  • Discoloration
  • Tiny pinholes
  • Tears in wrappers

Throw out homemade treats unless they’re from someone you know very well. If something looks suspicious, throw it out, and if you find actual evidence of tampering, notify the police.Eliminate choking hazardsSome Halloween treats can be choking hazards, especially for small children. Look through their bags to eliminate the following:

  • Peanuts
  • Hard candies
  • Gum
  • Raisins
  • Gooey candy like caramel, taffy or marshmallows
  • Small toys such as balls or marbles

In addition, make sure kids don’t lie down when they’re eating their Halloween candy, since this can increase their risk of choking.Make sure treats you serve at home are safeCandy from outside your home isn’t the only possible treat-related danger. If you’re hosting a Halloween party or planning other holiday activities for your family, take the following precautions:Clean fruitIf you’re bobbing for apples, rinse them thoroughly and use a produce brush.Avoid raw doughDon’t eat raw cookie dough or cake batter, which can contain bacteria.Refrigerate properlyDon’t leave food out on the table or counter for too long. Keep items refrigerated until they’re ready to serve, and don’t leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.Offer non-food alternativesYou don’t have to limit yourself to handing out candy. Kids enjoy small toys or other treats, and you won’t have to worry about allergies or stuffing them with too much candy. Dollar stores are great places to pick up multiple items packaged together, such as the following:

  • Glow sticks
  • Plastic rings with spiders, skulls, etc.
  • Small bubble bottles
  • Stickers
  • Mini notepads
  • Bouncy balls
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Vampire teeth
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Stencils
  • Silly bands
  • Small playing cards
  • Small cans of Play-Doh
  • Finger puppets

Trick-or-treating: Top Halloween safety tips

Halloween should be about treats, but some tricks such as dangerous situations can quickly ruin the fun. The following trick-or-treating safety tips can help you and your kids avoid issues.COSTUME SAFETY

Costumes and other components can create hazards if you’re not careful. The following tips from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Safety Council will help you make sure your child’s disguise doesn’t cause any hazards:

  • Look for light-colored, flame-resistant costumesLook for masks, wigs, costumes and other components that are labeled as flame-resistant or made of flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon. Also choose light-colored costumes when possible since they’re easier for drivers to spot at night.
  • Look for a proper fitMake sure all masks, shoes and other parts of your child’s costume fit well. He or she should be able to see well and walk without tripping over a costume that drags the ground or because of shoes that are too large. 
  • Take care with makeupBuy only nontoxic Halloween makeup, and always test it in a small area first, the CDC recommends. Remove it before bedtime to help prevent irritation.
  • Use safe accessoriesUse swords, knives and other accessories made of soft materials that won’t cause injury if your child falls on them.
  • Make your child more visible.The CDC suggests adding reflective tape to your child’s costume and treat bag to make him or her more visible.
  • Protect their eyesSkip wearing decorative contact lenses to avoid injuring your eyes, and don’t let your kids wear them.

ROAD SAFETY

Drive carefully and keep your kids safe as they navigate neighborhood streets with the following tips:

  • Slow down and be cautiousIf you’re driving on Halloween, slow down in residential neighborhoods and watch out for trick-or-treaters who may unexpectedly dart into the street. Especially if they’re wearing dark costumes, they can be difficult to see. 
  • Be visibleTurn your headlights on, even if it’s still light outside, so you’ll be more visible to trick-or-treaters.
  • Arm trick-or-treaters with flashlightMake sure your trick-or-treaters carry a flashlight with fresh batteries, but teach them to carry it facing downward so they don’t temporarily blind oncoming drivers.
  • Stick to sidewalksWalk on sidewalks when possible, and if they’re not available, walk on the left side of the road so you’re facing traffic.
  • Cross the street safelyCross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles.
  • Make sure kids are supervisedIf you’re not accompanying your kids, ensure that they’re going with another adult or an older, responsible young person if they’re under 12. CANDY SAFETYMake sure you child’s candy doesn’t cause any harm with the following tips:
  • Inspect your child’s candyTell your kids to wait until you can look through their candy at home before they eat any. Tampering is rare, but it does happen. Look for any tears in wrappers, tiny pinholes, or anything that looks discolored or unusual. Throw out anything that isn’t commercially wrapped, unless it’s a homemade treat from someone you personally know well.
  • Check for allergensIf your child has a food allergy, read the ingredient label of commercially wrapped treats to make sure it doesn’t contain any allergens. Skip homemade treats, since you can’t be sure of what they contain.
  • Look for teal pumpkinsIf you see a teal pumpkin at a home, that signifies that it’s safe for trick-or-treaters with food allergies since the homeowners offer non-food treats like small toys. Look for homes that display these if your child has allergies, and provide this welcoming sign of safe treats for kids who visit your home.
  • Check for choking hazardsCheck through non-candy treats to make sure they’re not a choking hazard to your child if he or she is younger. Also go through their candy and eliminate any hard candies or any other items they could choke on.

SAFE TRICK OR TREAT LOCATIONS

Choose the safest locations for your child to visit with the following tips:

  • Visit ‘trunk or treat’ eventsOrganizations such as churches often hold trunk or treat events where people decorate their opened trucks and hand out candy. This helps children stay in a confined area and avoid streets and traffic.
  • Hit the mallMalls sometimes have Halloween events where stores give out candy to children in costume. You’ll avoid traffic and other outdoor hazards while ensuring that weather won’t be a factor.
  • Check with neighborhood associationsIf you live in a community with a neighborhood association, these organizations often have information about which houses are handing out candy. The association may also host a clubhouse party for the holiday.
  • Use Nextdoor’s treat mapThe social network site for neighborhoods has a Halloween treat map that lets you and your neighbors “advertise” that you’ll be handing out Halloween candy. You can use it to plan the best route for your trick-or-treaters.
  • Know which houses to avoidSeveral states prohibit registered sex offenders from handing out candy on Halloween, and at least one, Maryland, requires them to post “No candy at this residence” signs. You can also check the U.S. Department of Justice’s website for links to your state’s sex offender registry or download a mobile app that you can use along the way to tell you which homes to avoid.
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