With news that the Brattleboro Police Department will be "out in force" today to keep Halloween shenanigans to a minimum, we are reminded that though it is typically a fun holiday for kids of all ages, precautions should be taken to insure it remains fun (and we're not just talking about a limiting our intake of sugar-laden candy to prevent a diabetic shock).

According to the Red Cross, Halloween's greatest hazards are falls, costume mishaps and traffic accidents, but all of those can, if not be eliminated, at least minimized. Precautions include adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags; using flame-resistant costumes; and using face makeup instead of masks, which can cover the eyes of little ones and make it hard to see.

The Red Cross also recommends that parents plan a trick or treat route in advance and make sure a responsible adult rides herd over the youngest ones.

In these days of advancing dusk, it's also a good idea to carry a flashlight and always face traffic while walking. Though trick or treaters might want to cross streets at random to get from lit porch light to lit porch light, they should be reminded that the safest way to cross a street is at a corner, and not before looking both ways.

People welcoming trick or treaters to their stoops can also take precautions to keep the kids safe. Those include making sure the outdoor lights are on; sweeping leaves from sidewalks and steps; clearing the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over; restraining pets; and using a glow stick instead of a candle in jack-o-lanterns to avoid a fire hazard.

Drivers need to be cautious, too. We don't think it's too much to ask that during the one or two hours that the kids are out running around knocking on doors that we all can drive a little slower and be a little more alert. And if that thought is not enough to get you be a little more cautious while driving tonight, remember the Brattleboro Police Department will be "out in force." When not confiscating shaving cream and toilet paper and citing pumpkin smashers, we're sure police officers will be watching for less-than-courteous drivers on this night.

The police department is also reminding parents that children 15 or younger out after 9:30 p.m. without an adult are violating curfew and parents ought to think twice before letting their wards exit the home with a toy or replica gun.

OK. Now that that's all out of the way, we encourage our readers to have a good time tonight, and if they don't have trick or treaters of their own, maybe stop down to Main Street for the annual Halloween Horribles Parade at 6 p.m., which travels from the Brattleboro Food Co-op to the Gibson-Aiken Center for costume judging, prizes, goodie bags, and more.

And have a wicked spooky Halloween everyone.