The Howard County Police Department offers these trick-or-treating safety tips for youngsters:
* Trick-or-treaters should wear fireproof, light-colored clothing, cut short to prevent tripping. Props, such as swords or guns, should be made of foam or cardboard.
* Children should be able to see through masks. Use decorative paint on faces instead. Reflector tape or patches can be added to costumes.
* Carry a flashlight.
* Trick-or-treat with a trusted adult. Walk, do not run when trick-or-treating.
* Recommended trick-or-treating hours are between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
* Children should stay within their neighborhoods and visit only homes with porch lights on.
* Parents should examine treats before allowing children to eat them. Throw away anything that is unwrapped. Check wrappers for signs of tampering. Wash fruit before eating.
* Parents should know the route their children are taking and warn children to stay away from strangers.
* Never enter a stranger's home, even if invited.
The police will offer extra patrols in residential neighborhoods over the weekend. Officers have been conducting classroom sessions in the county elementary schools on safety for Halloween.