It’s that time of year again! Costumes and candy, tricks and treats: it’s Halloween! The crisp Fall air stirs in anticipation as the sun sets and children prepare for a night of costumed fun. But as kids eagerly plan their routes to maximize their haul of sugary loot, parents should plan on putting safety first. Before going door to door, consider these Halloween safety tips to ensure your little monster has a safe night.
Picking A Safe Costume
Despite the spooky costumes during Halloween, cars may be the scariest things roaming the night. According to The National Safety Council, October is 2nd in terms of automobile-related fatalities and trick-or-treaters are especially at risk. With the sun setting earlier, low light conditions can make it difficult to see groups of children scurrying from door to door through the neighborhood streets. That’s why some of the safest costumes (and perhaps most fun) are the ones that are easiest to see.
Help your kid choose a costume that has light colors and is easy to see in the dark. If they have their hearts set on a costume with low visibility (like a ninja), consider putting reflective tape somewhere on it or on their candy bag. Flashlights with fresh batteries or glow sticks can also improve their ability to see and be seen.
Make sure your child’s costume doesn’t prevent them from moving out of the way of traffic. Modify costumes as needed to prevent tripping and allow for a full range of motion. If possible, use face paint instead of a mask to make sure they can see where they’re going. When picking a bag for their candy, choose something that’s easy to move around with. Things like pillowcases or large garbage bags can be a tripping hazard.
Trick-or-treaters under the age of 12 should always be accompanied by a responsible adult. Make plans to go out with your youngsters on Halloween or see if they can tag along with a trusted neighbor.
If your kiddos are going out on their own, map out a route beforehand and agree on a time for them to come home. You can even drive around the neighborhood ahead of time to make sure they know where they are going. This can serve as a practice run and it gives them a chance to look at all of the fun decorations!
No matter what the arrangements are, make sure your trick-or-treater is not alone. Talk to other parents in the neighborhood and see if you can organize a group for your kids. Halloween is always more fun with friends and there is safety in numbers.
If your kids are old enough to go out on their own, make sure they understand a few basic things.
- Make sure they know to walk facing traffic when navigating streets so they can see and avoid oncoming vehicles.
- Make sure they understand to look both ways before crossing the street.
- Try to plan routes ahead of time and choose streets with sidewalks.
Although candy tampering is rare, it never hurts to check your child’s treats. It only takes a second and it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
This, of course, doesn’t help much if they eat half of their stash before getting home! Many parents suggest preparing healthy, filling meals before trick-or-treating to discourage early snacking.
Food allergies can also make certain candies harmful. If your child is allergic to something that might be in a treat, you can typically find information about potential allergens on the package. Make sure they understand the nature of their allergy and know how to check their candy as well.
Decorating Pumpkins Safely
What would Halloween be without a jack-o’-lantern? Putting together fun pumpkin creations is a classic activity for kids and parents alike, but it’s important to decorate safely.
To avoid hand injuries, consider decorating a pumpkin with paint and/or stickers instead of carving. Your local craft supply store will likely have premade kits with a variety of decorations, but there’s really no limit to what you can do. Encourage them to use their imaginations and get creative!
If they want to go for the real thing, there are plenty of safe pumpkin carving tools you can buy. Most kitchen knives are simply not designed for such a task and can be dangerous for anyone to wield, especially children. That’s why emergency rooms see an increase in hand-related injuries during Halloween and why doctors recommend using these special tools.
Finally, avoid lighting your ghoulish gourd with actual candles. There are a wide variety of lighting options, like LED candles, that give you that eerie illumination without the fire risk.
Driving Safely During Halloween
Even if you aren’t a parent, you can take steps to make sure the neighborhood kids have a safe Halloween. While you should always practice these safe driving techniques, the stakes are much higher on All Hallows’ Eve.
- Avoid driving in the dark if at all possible. If you have to, make sure all of your lights are fully functional.
- Drive slowly, especially in neighborhoods.
- Turn your car stereo volume down.
- Don’t use your cell phone.
- Use caution when navigating near parked cars and other objects that might temporarily obscure children.
- If you are going to a Halloween party, make sure to plan a sober ride home.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!