10.11.2013Personal Tech

Halloween Safety Apps & Advice to Prepare For Trick-or-Treating

Planning for the best trick-or-treat season? Help is as close as your smartphone or tablet with these Halloween safety apps and advice:

Parents magazine launched its own iPhone app called Carve-a-Pumpkin. Try it out on your iPhone or iPad before little fingers get sticky in the guts of the pumpkin. This is a lot less messy and fun to try on different jack-o-lantern faces before you try it out on the real thing. When you’re done, you can also share Mr. (or Mrs.) Pumpkin Face via email, Facebook and Twitter. I downloaded the app and put it to the test with my 10 and 5-year-old daughters, who both enjoyed carving and decorating original creations.

New Parent offers some great safety tips as well, especially about costumes on the store shelves if you’re not making your own this year. For someone like me who doesn’t have the skills, talent, sewing machine or interest in making Halloween costumes, articles like this are valuable, especially when out and about shopping for the perfect October 31 attire.

Speaking of which, numerous retailers make it super easy to download mobile coupons right from your smartphone. Before heading out for a shopping spree for Halloween costumes, candy and decorations, check your smartphone’s app store to see if your favorite stores offer their own apps.

Also, consider trying out Verizon’s locator services if you’re worried about getting disconnected from family members during a Halloween party or event. Verizon Family Safeguards & Controls offers Family Locator, a service that allows you to use your mobile phone or Internet to view the location of your family members who have Family Locator-capable devices.

For a small monthly fee, Family Locator lets you locate family members and creates scheduled location updates – like arrival and departure updates.

Don’t forget there are plenty of flashlight apps for iOS and Android devices that will help light your way – whether your Halloween fun is in the neighborhood, a haunted house, a fire station or mall.

If you’re looking for non-evening local events, just search online for “safe” Halloween alternatives. You can usually find great free events sponsored by local colleges, associations, malls and fairgrounds.

And if that isn't enough advice, we went straight to a safety expert for even more suggestions! Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita L. Reith put together this safety list you can reference as you're planning your Halloween festivities:

  • Make sure any store-purchased costume is “flame retardant.” If you don’t find a label that says so, better to skip the purchase. Use safe materials if you’re building a costume from scratch, as well.
  • Avoid long and billowy costumes that may catch the flame of a candle.
  • Never let young children go trick-or-treating without adult supervision. Even if they don’t want you to go along, make sure to follow closely behind them.
  • Children get excited on Halloween, so make sure they are crossing streets with all due caution.
  • Don’t use candles or open flames in carved pumpkins. There are plenty of battery-operated devices that can light up your jack-o-lantern.
  • Check the candy when you return home. Local hospitals in your area may have free programs where you can run the candy collected through an X-ray machine before heading home.
  • Be careful with masks, and make sure they don’t obscure your child’s vision.
  • Use light and bright colors for costumes or coats in inclement weather that can easily be spotted.

What other Halloween safety apps or technology do you plan on using this season, and do you have any other safety tips to share?

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