Courierarea children are busy preparing their Halloween costumes, but it is important that the safety message not be lost in the excitement of the season.

Halloween activities already have started. In fact, Switzerland County kids will be trick-or-treating from 7-9 p.m. today.

Children in Jefferson, Trimble and Carroll counties will trick-or-treat from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday.

While many organizations sponsor fun parties, we highly recommend the city's Wednesday night Red, White and Boo party for younger children (from 6-8 p.m.) and Red, White and Boggie! party for teens (from 6:30-9:30 p.m.) on the riverfront.

For a list of all area Halloween-related activities, visit the Courier Online at www.madisoncourier.com or check out page A8 of Friday's Courier.

The Indiana State Police has issued its yearly list of recommendations to keep children safe while trick-or-treating.

• When trick-or-treating, only visit familiar homes with the porch lights on and never enter the home. Wait on the porch for candy.

• Trick-or-treat during designated hours, and after dark children should carry a flashlight.

• Young children should be accompanied by an adult or an older group of children and everyone should be in groups.

• Candy should not be eaten until after returning home and all of it should be inspected by mom or dad before being eaten.

• Motorists must be aware that children get excited on Halloween and could dart in front of traffic.

Halloween is an exciting time for children. Parents, make sure your youngsters are schooled on the importance of safe trick-or-treating.