The popularity of Halloween is growing in this country and it can be a time of fun for children.

From dressing up as ghouls, witches and skeletons to trick or treating, there are lots of ways youngsters can enjoy October 31.

As important as it is for kids to have fun, they also need to be kept safe.

Follow some simple rules and use some commonsense to make Halloween a safe and enjoyable time of year:

1. Children should not be allowed out trick or treating on their own. They should be in groups or have a responsible adult with them. This will keep kids safe and ensure things do not get out of hand at any time.

2. Children should never enter a stranger's house while out trick or treating. They should stay on the doorstep.

3. Costumes should be light-coloured and visible in the dark. Costumes should not be too long that children trip over while wearing them. Masks, wigs, hats etc should not obscure a child's vision. Children should take extra care when crossing the road.

4. Children should be encouraged to be sensible when tricking. Pranks can go wrong and land them in trouble. Children should show respect for older people and be polite if they are turned away from a particular house. Posters asking trick or treaters not to call should also be respected.

5. Think carefully if children are to carry toy knives or swords with them. If they must be worn, they should be flexible to prevent injury if fallen on.

6. If possible, start trick or treating early, preferably while it is still light, and do not continue late into the evening. If you wish to welcome trick or treaters to your house, turn on external lights.

7. Be very careful with candles inside jack-o-lanterns. Keep them away from children's costumes and other materials which could catch fire. Costumes should be fire proof.

8. Small children need to be supervised when carving our pumpkins and should not be allowed to use sharp knives. It is better to let children clean out the pumpkin and draw a face on it, which you can then carve for them.