While it's obvious to most parents that "safety first" is the rule for Halloween and trick or treating, it's not just the children who need to be watching out.
It wasn't that long ago that Halloween was a violent and destructive holiday, when youth committed acts of vandalism and spread fear with "tricks" that were often far too mean-spirited to merit such a tame label.
Even now there is a subset of society that considers the holiday to be a good time for robbing or hurting people.
Dave Young of Arma Training recommends people be aware of what is around them, especially adults accompanying their children on trick-or-treat rounds.
"Many times the guns, swords, knives and other weapons are real during this time of the year," he wrote in an article of safety tips for Halloween (members.vistelar.com/11760).
The Centers for Disease Control also has a page of tips for children out in the streets on Halloween night (http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/). One suggestion many children may find difficult to follow is to walk, not run, to the next house.
Pets are also in danger on Halloween. Candy, particularly chocolate, can be lethal to animals. Animals also should be kept inside and away from the front door during trick-or-treating time to reduce stress. Cats, particularly black ones, have a higher risk of being harmed on Halloween. Keep the kitties inside.
While we, as a society, have tamed and lightened Halloween into a fun holiday filled with candy, the dark side of it is never far away. Stay safe this Halloween!