Posted: October 27, 2015


Halloween is a time for scary costumes; scary faces, haunted houses, ghosts and ghouls. While this may  be fun for some, it may also be a very scary time for seniors.  Not just because of masked children in vampire suits, wolf men and wicked witches, in fact, children and their parents do not really pose a threat, it is the constant knocking and large masked visitors that can be very intimidating regardless of their intentions.

This is a night when our nation’s older population, as well as many others, come in contact with, and speak to more unfamiliar faces in a few short hours than any other time of the year. Anyone planning on handing out candy has the responsibility of keeping themselves and their guests safe.

Each situation requires its own set of precautions to be taken. One of Saratoga Springs nonprofit senior housing and services coordinator has a few tips for making this Halloween a little bit safer:

Light it up:  Leave interior and exterior lights on even if you are away from home.  You don’t want to alert vandals that your house may be empty by leaving all of the lights out. If you are handing out treats, make sure your exterior is brightly lit. This may deter troublemakers if they can be seen.

Keep all guests outside: Never invite trick-or-treaters inside, hand out treats on your steps or front porch only. If someone asks to use your bathroom or phone, don’t even consider this as an option unless you have a bunch of adults present in the home with you. Protecting your home means drawing a line and the front door is a good place to do just that.

Invite friends over: Ask a younger relative or neighbor to drop by for a few hours during the trick-or-treating hours, or maybe even spend the night. This will deter your home from becoming a target

Remove hazards:  Keep  any open flames, or candle lit pumpkins away from walkways or stairs where costume tails or capes could come in contact with them. Also remove any decorations from footpaths that could pose a tripping hazard for trick-or-treaters.

Communicate:  Talk to neighbors in advance about watching each other’s property, especially if one of you will be out that night. Or maybe make plans to get together and hand out treats together. Discuss concerns in advance and find a solution that works for everyone.

The final and most important rule is to have fun!  Once you have addressed your concerns and taken precautions to keep yourself and your property safe, Halloween offers a strong sense of community that brings along with it many smiles, giggles,  laughs and fun that can be shared by everyone.


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