Halloween is one of the most exciting times of the year for kids and parents alike. No other holiday compares in terms of the experience. After all, the Easter bunny brings treats right to you, evenings on July 4 are for fireworks instead of trick-or-treating, we don’t knock on our neighbors’ doors asking for candy on Thanksgiving, and we don’t dress in fun costumes on Christmas.
That said, if you want to make sure Halloween stays unique in a fun way this year, you need to stay safe. Kids can become exceptionally excited, making it easy to forget street-crossing safety or the fact that many of the people they’ll be visiting are indeed strangers. Therefore, it’s important to be especially vigilant as you accompany your kids on their spooky adventures.
The following are some of the top Halloween safety tips recommended by a spectrum of trusted organizations and publications.
- Costume Precautions – ‘Parents’ magazine reminds us to take safety into consideration with costume choices. Non-toxic face paint looks great without the obstructed vision caused by most masks. Pay attention to wigs, helmets, hats and even high collars as they can reduce your child’s peripheral vision. Brightly colored costumes make your child easier to see in the dark. This isn’t just important when crossing the street, as it’s also important for you to be able to keep an eye on your little one as he or she moves in and out of the shadows. Choose only costumes specifically labeled as “flame resistant” since many Jack-o-lanterns are lit with real candles and the sweep of a cape or a baggy pant-leg near a flame could otherwise spell disaster. Don’t forget to add reflective tape and flashlights whenever possible.
- Check the Loot – The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us not to let kids snack on their treats while they’re out trick-or-treating. Wait until you get home to check and sort the treats. It is very rare for tampering to occur but every year news reports pop up. It’s far better to be safe than sorry. A responsible adult should give each piece of candy a careful examination. Anything improperly wrapped, unwrapped, spoiled or simply suspicious should be thrown away.
- Carve Carefully – KidsHealth provides a list of helpful tips for creating injury-free Jack-o-lanterns. Kids should never be allowed to use knives. Instead, let them use a marker to draw the design onto the pumpkin. Kids also love scooping the “innards” out of the pumpkin with their hands so you can let them do that, too, once you cut the top off. As you carve, keep kids at a safe distance to reduce the risk of accidents. Don’t forget to clean up carefully. Pumpkin “guts” are slippery. The last thing you want to have happen is a slip and fall. Once your pumpkin is carved and gorgeous, use flame-free battery operated candle.
- Be Safe Parents – Caring For Kids (a pediatricians info group) recommends that you accompany children on their trick-or-treat adventure until they’re at least 10 years old, but preferably older. Be aware of your children, the people around you, traffic and other factors such as tripping hazards. Remember that your child is very excited so even if he or she is usually great about looking both ways before crossing the street, it may be forgotten while out on a trick-or-treating adventure.
- Drive Safely – SafeKids.org reminds us all to drive especially safely at this time of year. Take extra time to watch for crossing kids and remember that they may not wait for intersections to dart out.
Have a fun and happy Halloween!