Halloween is a fun time but it is important to be safe. Remember, fireworks are dangerous and can cause serious injury. Attend only supervised professional firework displays and always stand at a safe and considerable distance. Risk of accidents aside, it is also worth bearing in mind that the unsanctioned possession/use of fireworks is illegal, the penalties for which include a large fine and/or custodial sentence.
Children must also Play Safe on the night. Dressing up and calling to the doors of complete strangers is a big 'No No' and can result in assault by child molesters and/or abduction by other demented individuals - such as crazed spinsters who never had children of their own. In addition, we have all heard the stories about the poisoned 'treats' that are so often provided to youngsters during this holiday. Try not to contribute to the escalating rate of child mortality caused by these odious deeds. Instead, arrange an organised activity programme for your children in a secure environment. This is far safer than permitting minors to stray around the neighbourhood, leaving them vulnerable to 'Stranger Danger'. Also, the Department of Justice has introduced anti-begging legislation so donning masks and looking for 'treats' could well result in penalties such as large fines and/or custodial sentences.
Having arranged your programme of activities in a secure venue of choice, ensure that all attendees are checked for swine flu. Also, have a basin of regularly refreshed clean warm water and a dispenser of disinfectant handwash at the entrance to your Halloween party.
Have party attendees checked for criminal records before issuing invites. This can be done by contacting the gardai, explaining the situation and providing them with a list of the names and addresses of everyone you want screened. This especially applies to any children's entertainers who may be employed for the evening. Ask yourself, what type of life must a person have led for them to arrive at a point where they have been left with no recourse but to become a children's entertainer? There may well be criminality involved. John Wayne Gacy (pictured above) was a children's entertainer. I rest my case.
Ensure the code to your panic room is learnt by heart or within easy access should any drunken intruders/biker gangs arrive on the scene or should the John Wayne Gacy type turn out to be a 'wrong un'.
Ensure that the kettle is unplugged and that there are no pots of boiling water or bubbling chip pans on the stove. How many more children must we bury because their guardians did not have the foresight to do this? Chip pan related deaths run a close third to poisoned 'treats' and errant fireworks as a major killer of Ireland's youth. THERE IS NO MORE ROOM IN THE CEMETERY!
Last, but not least, under NO circumstances should the offspring of neighbours be permitted to enter your party. Neighbours should be kept at a safe distance lest they start to take liberties, pry into your personal affairs or expect you to maintain a consistent friendly demeanour toward them. Also, John Wayne Gacy (still pictured above, . . .just look at him, . . .Jesus) was someone's neighbour once. You are already running the risk of him gaining access under the guise of a children's entertainer, don't increase his odds. Admit only the offspring of people you respect or who can further your career/social standing. Consider the networking opportunities an added bonus to a Happy Halloween.
So, that's it. Fugger's Halloween safety tips going forward. Oh, before I sign off, there is one last tip: Enjoy yourself, it is Halloween after all.
For a list of festive alternatives to risky Halloween activities please visit PlaySafe.com.