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Tax & safety tips for Halloween trick-or-treaters

Halloween trick or treaters

Brrrrr! is the new Boo! for Halloween 2019.

That's true here in Central Texas where we're expecting a high temperature of 55, along with northerly wind gusts making it feel even chillier. Today is forecast to the be Austin's coldest Halloween day in 28 years.

I know. This is nothing compared to other parts of the country.

An early-season snowstorm will move through the Great Lakes this Halloween, with truly frigid temperatures across much of the Midwest and Northeast.

The winter weather system, dubbed Bessie by The Weather Channel, also dropped half a foot of snow to Denver earlier in the week.

Trick-or-treat alternatives (and taxes): The cold front has forced many places to postpone tonight's trick-or-treating.

That means that the scariest thing this Halloween, at least for parents, will be the thousands of disappointed little ghouls and goblins.

Instead of sitting home listening to that horrifying moaning and wailing, you might want to consider taking the kiddos to neighborhood indoor party, haunted house or the movies.

Remember, though, that there also are tax issues connected to indoor Halloween activities.

Everyone's already familiar with the sales taxes applied, or not, to candy and food items purchased for parties, Halloween-themed and year-round.

If you live in place with sales tax — that's 45 states, the District of Columbia and some Alaska localities — that extra charge was collected on your and your children's costumes.

And popular Oct. 31 indoor entertainment options also have a tax component.

Movies are subject to sales tax in several states, notes global information services company Wolters Kluwer.

Some real — or as real as we can determine — haunted houses (and other places), however, tax-free. There's no added levy on admission to the ones listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The infographic below from Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting highlights these Halloween sales tax tricks and treats.

Wolters Kluwer Tricks and Treats this Halloween

Candy seeking safety: If, however, you and your family are able to make the annual candy trek through your neighborhood, take care.

Neighborhood streets are more crowded than usual. There also are the added obstacles of spooky decorations in yards and many community common areas.

The infographic below has some scary Halloween statistics, as well as ways to ensure a safe Halloween.

Road safety, too: Drivers also need to be on high alert tonight since excited trick-or-treaters often forget about the road safety lessons their parents taught them.

AAA offers these five driving tips to help make Halloween roads safer for everyone:

  1. Put down your phone to keep your full attention on the road.
  2. Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. In dark costumes, they'll be harder to see at night.
  3. Slow down. Neighborhoods usually have slower speed limits anyway, but go a few miles per hour below that so that you'll have extra time to react if necessary.
  4. Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible, even in daylight.
  5. If you've been to an adult party with adult beverages, make sure a designated driver is the one behind the wheel on the way home.

Regardless of whether you're bundled up and hitting the streets to hit up your neighbors for treats, staying at home with the kids and bingeing on your favorite scary movies or heading out to some other form of Halloween celebration, enjoy!

Just do so safely.

And that extends to enjoying all the goodies you collect, either in trick-or-treat bags or as party favors. The scariest thing for many of us is over-indulging on tonight's treats!

You also might find these Halloween related tax items of interest:

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