Dear Readers: Halloween is the night for ghosts, gremlins, ghouls and goblins! Here are some SAFETY HINTS:

• Don't go it alone. A group effort is best, and plan the route before you go. Don't trick or treat in neighborhoods where you don't know anybody. Kids under 12? Parental supervision is necessary.

• Stay on the sidewalk. Tromping through someone's yard is not OK, and the roads are made for motor traffic.

• Regardless of your costume, make sure your shoes are nonskid and comfy. You'll be doing a lot of walking.

Not into trick-or-treating? Check local churches and community centers. They might be having a fun harvest festival, with games, hayrides and bobbing for apples. - Heloise


Dear Readers: Here are some hints for Halloween handouts:
"We stopped giving out candy a long time ago. We get popcorn, fruit snacks, hot cocoa mix and sometimes animal crackers. The kids and teens love the choices. We are now known as the 'Popcorn House.'" - P.D., via email

"Another suggestion for trick-or-treaters: pencils - colorful, with cartoon characters, etc. - are a big hit with kids." -- J.R., via email

"One of my favorite Halloween treats is to give out mini bags of microwave popcorn. It's not chocolate or sugar, but the kids still get a treat! I buy them in bulk at the warehouse stores." - L.B., via email

Great suggestions! Stickers, erasers, bubbles, rubber bracelets, crayons, mini notebooks and fun spider rings are all good choices for kids with allergies or diabetes, or if you just want a less sugary celebration. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I've taught my kids to be "mindful." What does that mean? It means being cognizant of what's going on right now.
We take just 10 minutes a day with no phones, no TV, no music, no distractions. We sit quietly and listen to our own breathing.
Medical professionals suspect that these mindfulness sessions can reduce anxiety and stress, raise our ability to concentrate and even boost the immune system.
This is super-simple - I'd advise all of your readers to give it a try! - Rebecca S. in Chicago


Dear Heloise: To avoid shedding tears when slicing onions, I've found it helpful to use a very sharp knife. - Martin C., Fort Wayne, Ind.
Martin, this theory is proven true. A knife cuts the cells of the onion, and then the irritating vapors are released. A sharp knife cuts the onion and the cells quickly and comes in contact with those cells so briefly that fewer vapors are released.
A dull knife cuts more slowly, so the vapors come out slowly, and more are released! - Heloise


Dear Heloise: Ever since I began to use a hand-held can opener, my really nice can opener cover sat in a drawer. I know many people use distilled water, as have I, for some of the newer individual-serving coffee makers. I got the idea to cover the 1-gallon water jug with the can opener's cover, and it was a perfect fit. No more ugly water jug! - Vicki G., White Haven, Pa.


Dear Heloise: A reminder to your readers who are veterans or active-duty military: One of the big home-improvement centers offers a 10% discount on all purchases. You must show proof of service. - John L., San Dimas, Calif.
John, great hint! Readers, lots of retailers offer military and senior discounts, but they may not advertise them. Never be afraid to ask. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: To clean my artificial flowers, I grab a paper bag and a handful of salt. The flowers and salt go in the bag, and, after a steady shake, the flowers come out clean. - Millie D. in California

Super sub!

Dear Heloise: I'm a SUBSTITUTE TEACHER, and I absolutely love it! Here are some hints that have helped me:

• I limit myself to two campuses in the district. The kids need to see a familiar face, and the staff, administrators and other teachers get to know me.

• The substitute coordinator (usually the principal's secretary) knows what jobs are available; all I do is ask!

• Punctuality is key; following the lesson plan to the letter is critical (although with kids, things happen!). When I go into a new class, I have to be strict at first (then I soften up quickly); and wearing the school's colors shows my spirit! The dress code is usually business casual.

I pack a "survival kit": water bottle, adhesive strips, facial tissues, lots of pencils, cash for lunch and, with the school's permission, a big bag of hard candies (one to a customer!). Passing a background check was necessary, but now my phone rings every day for a substitute job! - S.L. in San Antonio


Dear Heloise: I love lipstick. In fact, I don't feel complete unless I put some on. These are a few of my best lipstick hints:

• I can "cheat" with lip liner and go a bit outside my natural lip line for a fuller look.

• Blotting with a facial tissue is important; it "forces" the color into my lips.

• I use a lip brush to get out all the lipstick from the tube.

• One color can go on top of another for a new color.

• Mood lipsticks: the green reacts (like perfume) with my body chemistry and creates a custom color.

• Nighttime is for buffing, exfoliating and heavy moisturizing.

- May Belle in New York


Dear Heloise: I gather colorful fall leaves and place them between two sheets of waxed paper. I take a warm iron, without steam, and press until they are completely sealed. I leave them in the waxed paper until they are completely dry (about two weeks).
Then I gently peel the waxed paper off and use the leaves for decoration. - Della T., Pasadena, Texas

(c)2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.