How Much Should You Tip?

By Scott Sanchez at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A tip is a small amount of money for some kind of service. A tip is not included in the price or cost of something. For example, when you eat in a restaurant, you pay for the food, but you should also give the waiter or waitress a tip. It is a way to say “thank you” to a person who does a good job.

We also use “tip” as a verb. When food is delivered to my house, I ask my husband, “Did you tip the delivery man?” That means, “Did you give some extra money (a tip) to the delivery man?”

Tipping is very common in the United States for many kinds of service. In other countries, people are not required or expected to give a tip. How much money is a good amount for a tip? Are tips different for different kinds of service? When should you tip someone, and when is it not necessary? These are important questions, and many people disagree on the answers. However, here is a general guide for leaving tips.

Food Service

  • photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

    photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

    Waiter/Waitress – Most servers in the United States receive VERY little money from the restaurant. They depend on tips to make a living. Most people leave 15-20% for good service. If your food costs $10, a good tip is $1.50-$2.00. If you have a terrible server, you can leave less (maybe 10%). If you have the worst server in the world, you do not have to tip him/her at all. If you have an amazing server, you can leave a bigger tip (more money).

  • Delivery Person – When food is delivered to your home, a 10% tip is customary. Most people give a minimum of $2.
  • Barista – A barista is a person who makes coffee. You do not have to tip a barista, but they usually have a cup or jar beside the cash register. You can put some money into it if you want to. This is true in some restaurants also. When there is no server (waiter/waitress), there is often a container beside the cash register for tips. You are not required to put money into it, but you can.
  • Bartender – You can give a bartender $1 for each drink or 15% of the total bill. If you tip the bartender at the beginning of the night, you might get better service.
  • Takeout – If you order food from a restaurant, go to the restaurant to get it, and take it home to eat it, no tip is necessary.

Hotels

  • Bellman/Bellhop/Porter – This is the person who helps with your luggage. Maybe they take it to your room for you. Maybe they help you take it out of the car (or put it into the car when you leave). Many people disagree about how much to tip this person. I think it depends on the hotel. At a very expensive hotel, you should tip more. At a cheaper hotel, you can tip less. In general, $1-$2 per bag is customary.
  • Concierge – The concierge can give you information about the city, directions to restaurants, recommendations, and more. If the concierge gives you simple directions or tells you about a good restaurant, you do not need to tip him/her. However, if you receive excellent service, you can tip $5 or more.
  • Housekeeper – Depending on the hotel, you can tip a hotel housekeeper $2-$5 per day. You can leave a tip in the room each day (ask the front desk for an envelope) or leave one big tip when you pay your bill.
  • Parking Valet – A valet parks your car for you. This rule is for hotel valets, but some restaurants and even hospitals have valet parking, and the tipping rules are the same. When you get your car back, tip the driver $2-$5. You can also tip when you leave your car, but it is not required.
  • Room Service – When you order food at a hotel and it is delivered to your room, tip $3-$5. Sometimes, a tip is included in the cost of the food, and a tip is not necessary. Look for the words “gratuity included.” That means the tip is included in the price, and you do not need to pay a tip.

Personal Service

  • Barber/Hairstylist –Many people disagree on this, so you can tip anywhere from 10-20%. Again, I think it depends on the quality of service and how fancy the salon is. If you go to a barber shop and pay $8 for a haircut, the barber probably does not expect a big tip. If you go to an expensive salon and pay $90 for a haircut, they might expect you to tip the person who cuts your hair AND the person who washes your hair!
  • Manicurist – 15% is a normal tip for a manicure or pedicure.
  • Massage Therapist – We usually tip 10-15% for massages and other spa services (like facials).

Travel

  • Taxi Driver – Cab (taxi) drivers usually get a 10% tip.
  • Skycap/Porter – This is the person at the airport who helps you with your luggage. Just like a hotel porter, they receive $1-$2 per bag. They usually get $2 if the bag or item is very heavy.

Other Tips on Tipping

  • photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

    photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

    You can always tip more than the recommended amount for excellent service.

  • If you receive terrible service, you do not have to tip.
  • If you sit at a table in a restaurant for a very long time, you should leave a bigger tip.
  • If you use a coupon or a gift card, calculate your tip based on the full price, not the discounted price.
  • In general, we do not tip public officials or government employees. If you want to offer a tip, you can, but they might tell you that they cannot accept it.
  • If someone says that they cannot accept a tip, just say “thank you” and leave. In some cases, an employee could get into trouble for accepting a tip.

American Grocery Stores

I asked some friends if grocery stores (supermarkets) are the same in every country. You already know the answer – NO. They are very different. Here are some things about American grocery stores that might be new, different, or strange for you.

Weights and Measures

In most of the world, people use the metric system, but in the United States, we use the Imperial system. This system is confusing for everyone, but I hope I can help you understand a little bit today. I will tell you the word, and then I will put the abbreviation (short form) in parentheses.

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

  • cup (c) – A cup measures liquids or solids. A cup of liquid is about 237 ml. In grams, it depends on the food. A cup of butter weighs about 227 grams. A cup of sugar weighs about 200 grams. A cup of flour weighs 136 grams.
  • pound (lb) – A pound measures weight. A pound is 0.45 kg. The abbreviation for pound is “lb.” This comes from the Latin word for pound – libra. These apples cost $1.69/lb. That means one pound of apples costs $1.69.
  • ounce (oz) – An ounce measures liquids or solids. An ounce is about 30 ml (liquids) or about 28 grams (solids). There are 8 ounces in 1 cup.
  • pint (pt) – A pint measures liquid. There are 2 cups in 1 pint. A pint is 473 ml.
  • quart (qt) – A quart measures liquid. A quart is 946 ml. A quart is 4 cups.
  • gallon (gal) – A gallon measures liquid. One gallon is about 3.79 liters. One gallon is16 cups. One gallon is 8 pints. One gallon is 4 quarts.
    – 1 gallon = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 16 cups
  • dozen (doz) – A dozen is 12. If you buy a dozen cupcakes, that’s 12 cupcakes.

Here are some other abbreviations you might see in the grocery store:

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

  • ea – This means “each.” The Brussels sprouts in the picture are in bags. One bag costs $3.99. The sign says they cost $3.99/ea.
  • BOGO – This means “buy one, get one.” You might see a sign that says “BOGO 1/2 price.” That means when you pay full price for one, you can get another one for 1/2 price.

Departments

American grocery stores are BIG. In many countries, the stores are small, and you go to different stores for different things. For example, you go to a bakery for your bread and cakes, and you go to a butcher for your meat. In the United States, you can get everything in one place.

  • In the bakery section, you can buy bread, cakes, and other baked foods.
  • In the deli section, you can get meats and cheeses cut fresh for you. You can buy as much or as little as you want. Just tell the person working there how much you want.
  • In the produce section, you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

In some countries, you need to weigh your produce and print a label before you go to the checkout counter. In the United States, you do not need to do this. You can take your produce to the checkout area, and the cashier will weigh it. There are scales in the produce department so you can get the exact amount that you want, but you do not need to weigh your fruits and vegetables if you don’t want to.

In some countries, you pay for different things in different departments. In American grocery stores, you pay for everything at the checkout counter (at the front of the store). You do not pay for your bread in the bakery department, for example.

Packaging

In general, if a package is closed, or if several things are attached (held together), you must buy them like that. For example, if you see 6 bottles of Coke together (attached with plastic), you must buy all of them. You cannot buy only one. If you only want one small bottle of Coke, look in the refrigerator at the checkout counter.

You CAN separate bananas if you don’t want to buy a bunch.

Saving Money

Saving money on food is important to many people. Here are a few ways you can save money on groceries.

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

  • Price Comparison – Prices are not standard, so the same thing might cost more or less depending on the store. Pay attention to the prices the next time you go to a grocery store, and then compare them to a different store’s prices. You might be surprised.
  • Rewards Cards – Most grocery stores have some kind of rewards card to help you save money at that store. Harris Teeter has the VIC card, Food Lion has the MVP card, and Kroger has the PLUS card. These cards are free, and you can use them every time you shop. If you use your card regularly, the store’s computer will give you coupons for the things you buy or similar things.
  • Coupons – You can get coupons from the store, from inside a package, from the internet, or from the newspaper to save money on food. Just take your coupons with you when you shop, and give them to the cashier.
  • Store Brands – There are two kinds of products: name brands and generic/store brands. Name brand products are more expensive because the company pays for advertising. Store brands are cheaper. This chart will tell you the names of the store brands for several stores here in NC.
    Store Brand Names

Alcohol

The laws for buying and selling alcohol in the state of North Carolina might seem strange.

  • You can buy alcohol Monday-Saturday from 7:00 am until 2:00 am. You can buy alcohol on Sunday from 12:00 noon until 2:00 am. You cannot buy alcohol from 2:00 am until 7:00 am (or until noon on Sunday). If you want to buy wine for dinner on Sunday, you have to wait until the afternoon.
  • Grocery stores do not sell liquor. They sell wine and beer, but if you want tequila, whiskey, vodka, or rum, you must go to the ABC store (alcoholic beverage control).
  • You must be at least 21 years old to buy alcohol. The cashier will ask to see your ID (driver’s license). If you do not have an ID for the cashier to check, you will not be allowed to buy alcohol.
  • You cannot open your alcohol inside the store and begin drinking it.

American Banking

For all ESL levels, 1 and up.

Do you have a bank account?

Banks are probably not exactly the same in the United States as they are in your country. This video will help you understand American banks and banking words.

Your Turn

You do not have the worksheet and homework from the video, but you can still practice. Click here to download a practice worksheet.

Talk about these questions with your classmates:

  1. Do you have a bank account in the United States? What kind?
  2. Are banks in the U.S. similar to banks in your country?
  3. Do you think that everyone should have a bank account? Why or why not?

American Time

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

In different cultures, people think about time differently. When I lived in Honduras, I went to a wedding. As an American, I was very worried because we were late, but my host family told me not to worry. They said, “The invitation says that the wedding starts at 5:00, but that just means that the wedding definitely will NOT start before 5:00.” In the United States, if a wedding invitation says 5:00, the wedding will begin at 5:00, so you should arrive before 5:00.

In Madagascar, a bus leaves the station when it is full. In the United States, the bus leaves at a scheduled time.

In some cultures, people think about time as a circle or a pool they can move around in. In American culture, we think of time as a line with a past, present, and future.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

American Time

Here is what you need to know about American time:

  • Being “on time” is very important to Americans because we think that time is limited. We have 24 hours in a day, and when the day is finished, that time is gone. Therefore, we try to be on time because we think it is more respectful. We don’t want other people to lose time. And we try to be on time because it is more efficient. We want to complete all of the day’s tasks before the end of the day.
  • Americans think about time as a valuable resource. That’s why we talk about time and money in similar ways with expressions like “save time,” “spend time,” “waste time,” and “time is money.”
  • It is considered rude and unprofessional to arrive late to an appointment, meeting, or job.
  • If you are late to a class, you might get in trouble or not be allowed to enter the class. It can also affect your grade in some cases.
  • If you are going to be more than 5 minutes late to meet a friend, you should call or send a text message to apologize and tell them when you will arrive. It is never ok to be more than 30 minutes late to meet a friend. It is disrespectful to be late every time you meet, and it can hurt your friendship.
  • Americans get upset (frustrated, anxious, or angry) when they know that they will be late.
  • Americans think about the future a LOT. We have planners (books for writing future plans), we make grocery lists before we go to the store, we check the weather forecast in the morning so we know what to wear and whether to take an umbrella with us, and we put money into special bank accounts for babies so they can pay for college when they are 18 years old. In fact, it is very difficult for Americans to enjoy the present moment because we are always thinking about the future.
  • Americans do not usually visit or call each other after around 9:00 p.m. unless there is an emergency.
  • Americans think about time in 5-minute chunks (periods/pieces). We say it takes 5, 10, or 15 minutes to go somewhere or do something. In other cultures, people think of time in 15-minute chunks, so they say it takes 15, 30, or 45 minutes. This is not a precise way to talk about time, but it’s interesting. If it takes me (an American) 8 minutes to drive to work, I say it takes 10 minutes, but someone from another culture might say it takes 15 minutes.

Your Turn

Why do you need to understand American time? Think about the following questions and discuss them with your classmates.

  1. What will happen if you are late to work every day in the United States?
  2. What time does your class begin? What time do you arrive? What happens if you are late?
  3. Why are Americans always so angry when they drive?
  4. An American friend invites you to a dinner party that begins at 6:30 p.m. What will happen if you arrive at 10:00 p.m.?
  5. Is it important to you that people show you respect? How can this information help you to show respect for your American friends?
  6. How is American time different from your culture’s time? How can this information help you not to be upset about those cultural differences?

Community Buildings and Places – Emergency

Welcome back to our Community Buildings and Places series! This week, we’re going to look at places you might need to go in an emergency.

Hospital

WakeMed Cary

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Wake County has several hospitals. In eastern Raleigh, you can go to WakeMed Hospital. In western Raleigh, you can go to Rex Hospital. In southern Raleigh, Cary, or Apex, you can go to WakeMed Cary Hospital. If you have a medical emergency, go to the Emergency Room (E.R.), or call 9-1-1. At the hospital, the doctors see people in order based on the seriousness of their problems. That means the doctors see people with more serious problems first. For example, if you are bleeding a lot and another person is bleeding only a little, the doctor will see you first. If you are having a heart attack while another person has a broken arm, the doctor will see you first. It doesn’t matter who arrived first. The person in more danger will go first.

 

Urgent Care

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

You don’t need to go to the hospital for every problem. When you go to the E.R. with a problem that is not very serious, you will have to wait for a long time. Also, the E.R. is very expensive. It might be better for you to go to Urgent Care. Here are some reasons to go to Urgent Care:

  1. You are sick, but you do not have a doctor.
  2. You are injured, but your injury is not life threatening (You will not die because your problem is not serious). You don’t want to wait at the E.R. and pay for the E.R., but you need to see a doctor.
  3. You are sick or injured, and your regular doctor’s office is closed. Most Urgent Care offices are open on weekends and in the evening during the week.

To find an Urgent Care near you, search the internet for “urgent care near me.”

Police Station

You probably will not need to visit a police station, but you can. They are safe places to go if you need help, and you can also find information at the police station about all kinds of things. For example, you can get information about domestic violence, calling 9-1-1, and more

Fire Station

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

There are many fire stations in Wake County. You probably live very close to one. Fire stations are also safe places to go if you need any kind of help. Firefighters can:

  • check your home for fire hazards (things that might cause a fire) and help you make your home more safe
  • check the baby seat in your car to make sure that it is installed correctly
  • help you in a medical emergency
  • talk to groups of children or adults about fire safety
  • show you the fire station, fire equipment, and fire trucks

How to Call 9-1-1

If you have an emergency, you should call 911. DO NOT CALL 919. The phone number for emergencies is different in every country. In the United States, we call 9-1-1. Here are some instructions for calling 9-1-1:

  1. Wait for the operator to answer.
  2. When the operator answers the phone, try to stay calm.
  3. Speak slowly and clearly. Describe your problem.
  4. Give your name and phone number.
  5. Give your location. Give an address if you can. If you don’t know the address, or if you are not at an address (on the highway, maybe), tell where you are.
  6. DO NOT END THE CALL. Stay on the phone.
  7. Answer the operator’s questions.

If you do not speak English, just say, “Help.” Do not end the call. Stay on the phone, and wait for the fire department, police, and ambulance to arrive.

Your Turn

Discuss these questions with your classmates, or ask your teacher:

  1. You think you have broken your toe. Should you go to the hospital or to Urgent Care?
  2. You think you have broken your arm. Should you go to the hospital or to Urgent Care?
  3. How can you find an Urgent Care near you?
  4. Name 3 situations when you should visit Urgent Care, not the E.R.
  5. Who will the doctor see first in the E.R. – someone who has pain in their chest or someone who has pain in their leg? Why?
  6. If you have a medical emergency, can you go to the fire department? Why or why not?
  7. Where should you go to make sure your baby’s car seat is safe?
  8. What is the emergency phone number in the United States?
  9. What should you do if you call the emergency number but don’t speak much English?
  10. If you do not feel safe in your home, where can you go for help?

How to Send Mail in the United States

Most countries have a postal service (a way to send mail). It’s a basic service, so you might think that it’s the same in every country. Have you noticed differences between the way we send mail in the United States and the way people send mail in your country? Today, we’re going to talk about how to send mail in the United States.

First, let’s talk about mailboxes.

There are a few different kinds of mailboxes. If you have a mailbox at your house, it might look like one of these:

Used with permission from capl@washjeff.edu

By http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Steevven1 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mailbox_USA.JPG) [CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you live in an apartment or townhouse, you might have a group of mailboxes for your neighborhood or your building. Those look similar to these:

By Dmitry G (Own work) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) also has mailboxes in public places all around the city. They are large, blue boxes like this one:

Coolcaesar at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

You can only RECEIVE mail in your home or apartment mailbox (not the blue Postal Service boxes). You can SEND mail from all of these mailboxes, but the way you do it is different for each one.

How to Send Mail

Here is how you send mail from each kind of mailbox:

  • Home Mailbox – To send mail from your home mailbox, put the mail inside the mailbox, and raise the red flag on the side. When the flag is up, the mail carrier will take out the mail that is inside.
  • Neighborhood Mailbox – Most neighborhood mailboxes have a special box that says “Outgoing Mail.” You can put mail into this box, and the mail carrier will take it.
  • Postal Service Mailbox – Just put mail into the box. There is a sign on the box that tells you what time the mail carrier will pick it up.

You can also take your mail to a post office. Near the entrance, there is an “outgoing mail” box. You can put your mail there if it is ready. In order to send mail in the United States, you must pay. We pay to send mail by buying stamps. You buy a stamp and put it on your mail. It is very important that you put a stamp on your mail. If you don’t use a stamp, the mail carrier will not deliver your mail. You can buy stamps at the post office. You may also be able to buy stamps at Wal-Mart, a gas station, a bank, a pharmacy, an office supply store, or a grocery store. You can buy stamps online at Amazon.com or USPS.com. Look for the word “forever” on the stamps. You can use those even if the price of stamps goes up in the future.

How to Address an Envelope

In different countries, people address envelopes differently. It’s important to do it correctly so that your mail goes to the right place. Here is an envelope that is ready to mail:

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

In the United States, we write the “to” address in the middle of the envelope. This letter is going to Bob Vance. Bob is the recipient of the letter (the person who will receive it). On the first line, we write the person’s name. On the second line, we write the number of the building (house/apartment/townhouse/office) and the name of the street. If we need to add an apartment number, we can put it in the same line or a different one. Below that, we write the city, state, and zip code. You can also write the zip code on a different line if the city and state are very long and you don’t have space.

In the top-left corner, we write the return address – the “from” address. This letter is from Phyllis Lapin. Phyllis wrote the letter. She is sending it to Bob. If there is a problem with the letter, the mail carrier can return it to Phyllis at this address. We write it the same as the “to” address:
Name
Street Address (number of building + name of street)
City/State/Zip Code (*Notice that we put a comma between the city and the state.)

The stamp always goes in the top-right corner.

Your Turn

Find a partner in your class. Write your partner a letter and send it to him/her. When you receive a letter from your partner, bring it to class. Is the U.S. Postal Service fast or slow?

Discuss these questions with your classmates:

  1. Can you send letters from your home mailbox in your country?
  2. Can you receive mail at home in your country, or do you have to pick it up from another place?
  3. Is sending a letter in the United States cheap or expensive?
  4. Have you ever been to a U.S. post office? What was your opinion of it?
  5. Is the postal service in the U.S. the same as in your country or different? Explain your answer.
  6. In the United States, postal mail is sometimes called “snail mail.” What do you think that means? After you discuss it with your classmates, ask your teacher to explain.

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the Civics, Culture, and Community Blog! We didn’t write new posts during the winter break. Now it is January, and we will begin to write new posts again. Happy New Year!!

How often will new posts be up?

This year, you can read one new blog post every other week. That means there will be a new post one week, but not the next week (week 1, not week 2, week 3, not week 4). Posts should be on this website every Monday morning.  If there is something specific you want to learn about but you can’t find it on this site, please post a comment or tell your teacher. We will write a topic for you or your class. This blog is for YOU, our ESL students, and we want to write information that will help you.

How do I use the blog?

There are several options to use the blog.

  • You can SEARCH for a specific topic by using the searchbox on the right.
  • You can click on the links at the top.
  • You can click on the links on the right.
  • You can read the posts in order.

What topics are on this blog?

This is the Civics, Culture, and Community blog. There are many topics related to local events, government, citizenship, and living in the United States. For example:

If you want to learn about something that isn’t here, please tell us!

What are comments and links?

You can comment on every post. Click this blue link to read how to comment. 

There are lots of links in blogs. Links are blue. They open a new window and go to a different webpage. You can always return to the original post.

Practice!

In the comment section or on paper, write YES or NO. If the sentence is wrong, re-write it correctly.

  1. You can learn about American history on the Civics, Culture, and Community blog.
  2. There is one new post every week.
  3. New posts are ready on Monday.
  4. You can study grammar and vocabulary on the Civics, Culture, and Community blog.
  5. This blog is for teachers only.
  6. You can comment on any post.

See you in two weeks!

Wake County Public Libraries

Map of Wake County Public Libraries

Screenshot of Map of Wake County Public Libraries

Did you know that there is probably a library near your house? It’s true. Wake County has 20 libraries! Click the map to find the one closest to you.

The library is not just for books.

Yes, the library has LOTS of books for you and your family, but it has so much more too! Wake County Public Libraries have computers with internet access and FREE events for adults, kids, and teenagers. You can take a music class, join a discussion group, hear stories, learn job skills, work on your resumé, and more! You can also volunteer at the library. Just fill out the application, and take it to your nearest library.

How can I get a library card?

You must have a library card to use some of the library’s services. To get a library card, go to the nearest library with one of these:

  • a photo ID with a Wake County address on it (driver’s license or permit)
  • a photo ID (passport) and something to show that you live in Wake County (probably a bill – phone bill, electricity bill, water bill, etc. – or apartment lease)

Tell the librarian (person who works in the library) that you would like a library card. The librarian will ask you for your ID and proof of residency (something to show that you live) in Wake County. If you live in Wake County, your library card will be free. If you live in another county, you can get a Wake County library card for $25 per year.

For more information, visit the library’s website.

Your Turn

Do you have a library card? How often do you go to the library? Find one event that you would like to attend at the library. Ask your classmates to go with you!

Daylight Savings Time Ends

On Saturday night, November 1, before you go to bed, you should change the time on your clocks. Move the time BACK one hour. The time changes in the middle of the night, but if you change your clocks before you go to sleep, then they will be correct when you wake up.

Here is an example:

time change clocks fall

image by instructor ecparent

If you go to bed at 11:00 p.m., you should change your clocks to 10:00 p.m.

Your cell (mobile) phone will probably change by itself. You will not need to change it. However, you will need to change all of your other clocks. Don’t forget the clock in your car!

Halloween Safety

Halloween is coming THIS Friday, October 31!! This is a fun holiday for children, but getting hurt is not fun at all, so here are some tips (suggestions/ideas) for staying safe and enjoying Halloween.

Costume Safety

reflective tape

These cones have reflective tape, so you can see them in the dark.
photo credit: giveawayboy via photopin cc

  • Make sure your child’s costume fits. If it is too long, or if the shoes are too big, your child might trip and fall down.
  • Make sure your child can see. If your child’s costume has a mask, check that the holes are big enough and that the mask fits the child’s face correctly. If your child’s costume has a hat, make sure the hat is not too big. You don’t want it to fall down and cover your child’s eyes.
  • Make sure other people can see your child. If your child goes trick-or-treating (going to different houses, asking for candy) in the dark, he/she needs to have bright clothes or reflective strips so that drivers can see him/her.
  • Make sure all face paint is safe for skin. Look for “Non-Toxic” on the package to be sure it is safe to put on your body.
  • Make sure everything is flame resistant. “Flame resistant” means it will not catch fire easily. Jack-o-Lanterns are very common at Halloween, and most Jack-o-Lanters have a candle burning inside of them. If part of your child’s costume falls into a Jack-o-Lantern, you don’t want the costume to catch on fire. Flame resistant costumes and make-up will help to keep your child safe from fire.

Trick-or-Treat Safety

  • Most children go trick-or-treating between 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. After 9:00, it will be darker and more dangerous.
  • An adult should always go with young children.
  • Older children should have an approved route (path/way/trail) and a time to come home. Make a map of your neighborhood. Mark the direction your children will go and the houses they will visit. Decide what time they should come home, and give them a mobile (cell) phone in case of emergency.
  • All children should know how to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency. Talk to your children about different kinds of problems and when to call 9-1-1. For example, if a young child falls and hurts his knee, don’t call 9-1-1, but call a parent. If someone breaks a bone, call 9-1-1 AND a parent.
  • Only visit houses that have their porch lights on. If a house does not have its porch lights on, then the people are not home, or they do not want children to trick-or-treat there.
  • Never go into the house of a person you don’t know very well. Children should use the toilet at home before they go trick-or-treating. If they need to go while they are out, they should ask to use the toilet at the house of a friend.
  • Stay with a group. Children should never go trick-or-treating alone, and they should stay with a group at all times, especially when crossing the street.
  • Do not walk through yards. Stay on sidewalks and walkways. People might have garden hoses, sticks, or other things in their yards that children can trip on. Also, some people don’t like it when someone walks on their grass.
  • Do not eat any candy before you get home. Parent should look at all candy to make sure it is not open or rotten.

Halloween Health

  • Think about buying treats that are not candy. Pencils, stickers, small toys, or coloring books are great treats, but they don’t have all the sugar and calories of candy.
  • Check your child’s treats before they start eating. Make sure the candy has not been opened. Make sure it looks fresh. Make sure it doesn’t look strange in any way.
  • Save some candy for later. Your children might receive a lot of candy, and they will want to eat all of it immediately. However, think about allowing them to eat some now, but save the rest for later. It is healthier to eat 1 piece of candy every day than to eat 30 pieces at one time.
  • Give kids a healthy meal before they go trick-or-treating. This will help them not to eat all of their candy right away.

Indoor Trick-or-Treating

If you don’t think your neighborhood is safe for trick-or-treating, or if the weather is bad, you can take your children (ages 10 and under) to the mall closest to you, and they can trick-or-treat in the stores!

  • Cary Towne Center – 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Crabtree Valley Mall – 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Triangle Town Center – NO TRICK-OR-TREATING
Happy Halloween

image by instructor ecparent