Finney County Extension agents

What a wonderful year for Halloween! Are you thinking about planning a party? It is not too late and does not need to be expensive. Just invite over a few of your child's friends and their parents.

You can all go trick-or-treating together. Keep things simple. Start things early in the afternoon and plan a healthy meal. Use some funny names for everyday foods, such as: swamp juice, mummy dogs, booger sticks or kitty litter cake. If you serve a healthy meal, the children will be less likely to fill up on candy. The idea is to have fun with your kids and not work all day to prepare.

Kids love Halloween! They love to get dressed up and get free candy! But trick-or-treating is not what it used to be. It is not as safe to let your children walk the streets alone. Safety is so important. As fun as Halloween is or can be, it can also be spoiled by not practicing sensible safety rules. I know you have heard them all before, that is what every parent says, but there are still accidents every year.

Here are some suggestions to make your Halloween a safe one:

* Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and choose light-colored costumes to improve visibility.

* Choose face paint and make-up instead of masks, which can obstruct a child's vision. Look for non-toxic designations when choosing Halloween makeup.

* Avoid carrying sticks, swords or other sharp objects.

* Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better, as well as to be seen by drivers.

* Liquid in glow sticks is hazardous, so parents should remind children not to chew on or break them.

* Help your child make or pick out a costume that will be safe. Be sure it is fireproof, if possible. Flame-resistant/retardant is not the same. Make sure the costume is short enough to prevent tripping. All accessories such as knives or swords should be flexible.

* Teach your child to only stop at homes with the porch light lit. No cutting across yards. Walk, do not run. Do not run between parked cars.

* If your child is old enough to trick-or-treat without parental supervision, know where they plan to go. Let them carry a cell phone for emergencies. There is safety in numbers so encourage them to travel in groups.

* Explain to your child the difference between "trick" and "vandalism." Throwing eggs at a house may seem like fun at the time but there will be consequences.

* Beware of dogs and other animals. Normally friendly dogs may be frightened by the extra noise and costumes. Speaking of dogs and cats, remember that chocolate candy is toxic to them. And the wrappers may get stuck in their digestive system.

* Check every treat your child has collected before eating to be sure it is safe. Throw away any homemade candy no matter how good it looks, unless you know the maker personally. Toss any candy with torn or opened wrappers. Check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them.

* Teach your children to say "thank you" for their treats.

Following these safety guidelines will help you make memories that will last a lifetime. Your children are only young once. Be sure and have your camera ready to take pictures of those smiling faces. Let yourself go! Throw a family Halloween party, dress up and have some fun! Your kids will love you for it! It's an exciting holiday for kids.

Knowledge at Noon

Heather Davis, owner of Davis Designs, will be the presenter for Knowledge at Noon on Thursday from 12:05 to 12:55 p.m.

Davis Designs will host the program this month. They are located at 426 N. Main St., south of Stevens Park and across the street from Regan & Company. Please note the change in location.

Davis Designs, a family-owned business, is here to help clients discover and define the right style. It is about setting a mood and surrounding yourself with the things you love. Davis Designs takes into consideration that everyone has different homes, budgets and lifestyles. With that in mind they pay attention to detail and the price of items. Davis Designs wants anyone and everyone to have a fun shopping experience. Come find out what Davis Designs can do for you and learn about all they have to offer.

The public is invited to attend this program. Bring a sack lunch. Coffee and tea will be provided.

For more information about the Knowledge at Noon programs, please contact Alli Burns, county Extension agent, family consumer and sciences, at the Finney County Extension Office at 272-3670.

Living Well program

"Living Well Travel Across America with Food" will be presented from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at the Finney County Extension Office, 501 S. Ninth St.

Cost for the program is $5 and includes a free copy of "Living Well More than a Cookbook!" Please RSVP to Kansas State Research Extension Finney County at 272-3670 by Thursday.

Medicare info

Reminder: If you have any Medicare questions or would like to schedule an appointment to review your prescription drug coverage during Open Enrollment through Dec. 7, please call Alli Burns at 272-3670.

Check smoke detectors

Daylight-saving time ends Saturday. But the seasonal reminder to "spring forward, fall back" can also be a convenient reminder to test smoke detectors in the home.

If a smoke detector fails during testing or after the battery has been replaced, try another new battery. If the detector still fails, replace the detector. The cost of new batteries or new detectors, for that matter is a small price to pay for keeping the home and those who live there safe.

Testing the detector and replacing batteries periodically can eliminate the chirpy reminder that detectors with fading power emit at what nearly always seems to be an inconvenient time.

Testing your personal plan to escape in case of a fire is a good idea, too. Designate a family member to press the test button on the smoke detector while others in the family wait in the bedrooms or other commonly used locations in the home. When the smoke detector sounds its alert, the family members should walk or crawl out of the house and meet at a designated location outside

K-State Research Extension Finney County is the front-door source to your everyday questions for information and knowledge. Every question is of value to you and us. Give us a call at 272-3670, or better, walk in our front door at 501 S. Ninth St., for information to help you make a better decision.