Halloween for some (especially our children) could be considered the most exciting time of the year! You get to go costume shopping, or perhaps even create your own costumes. There’s trick or treating, meeting up with other parents, walking around and checking out amazing houses all decked out for Halloween season.
While kids are out having the time of their lives, we as parents have to stay vigilant and practice good safety practices to make for a perfect night for all. Thankfully, we have broken down some noteworthy tips to keep in mind while you prepare for the festivities!
Kids love to dress up as their favorite characters, but costumes also provide an opportunity to ensure safety. Wearing something bright and/or reflective can help ensure kids are seen at night, preventing drivers from accidentally hitting them. Reflective tape or striping on the costume can produce a similar effect if your child’s chosen costume does not lend itself to bright colors.
You also need to make sure that your child’s costume is safe to walk around in. Shoes should fit well to prevent tripping, and costumes should be short enough to avoid entanglement or contact with flame. Many masks compromise the wearer’s field of vision, so consider substituting makeup or hats as a safer alternative. If you use makeup, test it beforehand for any adverse reactions. Hats should fit properly to avoid falling down and interfering with your child’s sight.
If the costume involves a prop such as a sword or stick, ensure that it is neither too sharp or too long. Otherwise, they may hurt your child if he stumbles and falls. You should also avoid decorative contact lenses no matter how well they suit a child’s costume. While many claim to be safe to use without consulting an eye specialist, none of them are and they’re actually illegal to sell. Permanent vision loss, infection, and pain are just some of the possible side effects of using decorative contact lenses.
Carving a pumpkin is fun, but is best left to the adults in the house. Allow smaller children to draw a face on a pumpkin for a parent or guardian to cut out later. Flashlights and glow sticks are also safer than the traditional candle to light up a finished Jack-O-Lantern.
If you must use a candle, votive candles are the safest option. Store it on a sturdy table so that it cannot be knocked over. Avoid placing it near visiting trick-or-treaters or around flammable objects such as curtains. Lit candles should never be left unattended either.
Your Little Visitors
If you expect trick-or-treaters to visit your home, remove any obstacles such as toys and hoses from their path so that nobody trips. You should also eliminate any snow or wet leaves to allow children to reach your home safely. Ensure that your outdoor lighting system is in good working order, and replace any dead bulbs. Finally, restrain any pets so that children are not bitten or jumped upon.
Younger trick-or-treaters should always be accompanied by a responsible adult. Children and adults alike should be equipped with flashlights featuring fresh batteries to ensure that everybody can see in the dark. Older children allowed to go out on their own should follow a route you find acceptable and agree to be home by a certain time.
Trick-or-treaters should stay on the sidewalk whenever possible and stick to the far edge of the roadway in neighborhoods where sidewalk is unavailable. Shortcuts across yards and alleys should be avoided. Children should only approach well-lit homes and never enter an unfamiliar dwelling. It is best for kids to stay in a group and carry cell phones in case emergency contact becomes necessary. Review how to handle an emergency with your children before they head out, including 911. The appropriate authorities should be contacted immediately if anyone suspects unlawful activity.
Providing a healthy meal to your children before they start collecting treats can discourage them from eating too much candy on the big night. You can also substitute items such as coloring books and stationary sets for candy as a healthier alternative.
Finally, children should wait until they are home to sort through the day’s haul. Tampering is rare, but an adult should still look everything over and discard unwrapped or spoiled items. It is best to ration Halloween treats instead of allowing children to eat them all over a day or two.