Halloween is one of the most fun and creative times of the year for kids and adults alike. Unfortunately, there are several opportunities for things to go wrong. Below are some simple, yet useful tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC in order to make this Halloween the safest and most spooktacular of all!
- Bright, Reflective Costumes
- These will allow your child to be more visible for you and for drivers on a busy trick-or-treat night! Make dull costumes and trick-or-treat bags stand out by adding reflective tape.
- Good Fit
- Eliminate falls and blocked vision with costumes, shoes, masks, and hats that fit well. You may also consider using non-toxic Halloween makeup as an alternative to masks – just be sure to test the skin for an allergic reaction before the big night!
- Accessorize Safely
- While pirates may need their sword or witches their broom, props that are too long or sharp can cause injuries.
- Choose “Flame-Retardant”
- This is especially important if a costume is long and flowy, or if your child may be around open candles or bonfires.
- Dress Warm
- Trick-or-treat night may be a cold one! Make sure your child’s costume is warm enough for them to be out in the weather for a couple of hours.
- Young children should never carve pumpkins. Allow them to decorate with markers, stickers, or other art supplies as a safer option.
- If you or your older children are carving pumpkins, consider lighting up your designs with battery-powered candles instead of an open flame.
- If you are using burning candles, make sure you place the pumpkin on a sturdy table and away from curtains or other flammable materials. Do not place candle-lit pumpkins along high traffic areas such as a porch or sidewalk to keep them from being knocked over.
- Younger children should always be accompanied by a responsible adult while trick-or-treating.
- Review an emergency plan with your child before going out. Make sure they know your phone number, their home address, and when to call 911. Consider placing a nametag on your child with this information.
- Flashlights with fresh batteries make walking in the dark easier, as well as making everyone more visible to drivers. Kids are more than twice as likely to be hit and killed by a vehicle on Halloween as any other night of the year.
- If your child is older and you will not be trick-or-treating with them:
- Make sure they know the route they are supposed to take and set a time for them to be home.
- Make sure they have a cell phone to use in case of emergencies.
- Your child should ALWAYS be traveling in a group and should only be approaching houses that are well lit and located in highly trafficked areas. Avoid streets or houses that are not well lit. They should NEVER go inside someone’s home or car to get candy, especially if they do not know the person.
- Instruct them to stay on the sidewalk at all times. If the road does not have sidewalks, always walk facing traffic, carry flashlights, and remain in a group!
- Offer your kids a healthy dinner prior to trick-or-treating so they will be less interested in overeating their candy.
- Candy being tampered with is rare, but you should examine it before letting kids dig in. Be on the lookout for ripped packaging, candy that has passed its expiration date, or choking hazards such as gum, hard candy, or peanuts if your child is very young.
- While you may allow your child to have more than a usual amount of sweets on Halloween, consider storing the remaining candy in a location not easily accessible to your child, only allowing 1-2 treats per day after Halloween. This makes the candy last longer and helps to avoid eating a large amount of sugar all at once!
- For children with severe food allergies:
- Read ingredient labels for possible triggers such as peanuts, milk, eggs, soy or wheat.
- Politely turn down offers of homemade goodies, such as brownies or cookies, from people you may not know.
- Instruct your child to avoid tasting another child’s candy.