JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
The custom of Halloween was passed on to America by the immigrating Europeans. Since then, traditions have changed slightly.
As an example, people in Europe during Halloween would carry lanterns made from turnips. While in America, more common were pumpkins.
By putting candles inside them and using them as lanterns people could see their way in the dark. And that’s why you see Jack ‘o lanterns in this day and age.
Nowadays, Halloween is typically considered a fun day for children. Dressing up in costumes like people did a thousand years ago children continue the practice. They go from house to house without the worry of evil spirits. They knock on doors and say “trick or treat.” The owner of each house gives candy or something special to each trick or treater.
Children across the nation will be scurrying about this Halloween to get their share of candy delights.
As for events happening around Joint Base San Antonio, Trick-or-Treating hours at all JBSA locations are scheduled from 5-9 p.m. Oct. 31.
Pumpkin Patrol will be out at JBSA-Randolph and JBSA-Lackland base housing conducting foot and vehicle patrols to ensure a safe environment for children and families to Trick-or-Treat.
The JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Halloween Carnival with carnival games targeted at children ages 12 and under is scheduled 5-9 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Youth Center. An entry fee of $1 per patron will be charged. Call 210-221-3502 for more information.
The JBSA-Randolph Youth Center will host the annual Fall Hi-Jinx carnival from 5:30-8:30 p.m., Oct. 31. The event is free and open to all Department of Defense cardholders and their families.
Joint Base San Antonio Fire Emergency Services advises parents to follow some safety tips:
• Select bright colors that make you child more noticeable in the dark.
• Any store bought costumes and accessories need to be labeled flame resistant.
• Shun oversized clothing. It makes it hard to walk and can come in contact with open flames from a jack-o-lantern.
• Have the child wear shoes that fit to avoid tripping.
• If you allow your child to carry a prop sword or knife, it should be made of soft plastic or rubber so it can bend if your child falls while carrying it.
• Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers.
• Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
• Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
• Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
• Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross
• Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
• Teach your children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
• Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
Trick or treat with an adult:
• Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
• Tell your children to go only to homes with outside lights on.
Drive extra safely on Halloween:
• Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
• Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
• Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
• Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
• Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
• Popular trick-or-treat hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
Did you know?
• Decorations are the first thing to ignite in 900 reported home fires each year. Two of every five of these fires were started by a candle.
An ounce of prevention:
• Instill in your children if they are going to attend Halloween parties at others homes have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
For more information about Halloween safety, visit the National Fire Prevention Association website at http://www.nfpa.org/education or contact the JBSA fire Prevention Offices at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston at 210-221-2727, at JBSA-Lackland at 210-671-2921, or at JBSA-Randolph at 210-652-6915.