Since Halloween is next week and by now – we hope – you’ve already stocked up on all your treat bags and customized spooky holiday themed goodies, we thought we’d take this opportunity to brush up on our basic Halloween safety tips.
In the U.S. trick-or-treating has been a time-honored Halloween tradition for over 70 years. On All Hallows Eve, frolicsome children in costume haunt their neighborhoods collecting their treats in order to abstain from inflicting their tricks; or more accurately, children walk door-to-door and receive candy and sweets from friends and neighbors. This is a annual activity that kids of all ages look forward to but for parents it can be a stressful time. There are many dangers that can be associated with allowing children to go out and about visiting strangers while dressed in disguise. Luckily, following some very simple guidelines can ensure every Halloween goes off without a hitch.
Here are some basic Halloween safety tips for parents and children:
Tips for Parents and Party Hosts:
- If you have a party where there are lit jack-o-lanterns, make sure you keep them away from walkways, doorways, curtains or areas where objects, children or pets might get too close to the flame. A better precautionary measure is to use battery operated lights instead of candles all together.
- Remember to drive safely around neighborhoods and remind friends coming to your home to be vigilant for trick-or-treating children who might run out into the street.
- When choosing a child’s costume, make sure the fabric is flame resistant or treated with a fire retardant and fits properly without any excess material to cause a tripping hazard. Any masks should be tested to make sure they do not interfere with a child’s peripheral vision. You may also want to make sure children will be visible, especially to drivers, by having them wear or carry something reflective like a trick-or-treat bag or other reflective accessories.
- If a child will be wearing facial make-up, it’s best to test it out on a small patch of skin first to ensure no allergic reactions are possible.
- If you’re not able to accompany your trick-or-treaters, make sure you know the group they will be out with and that there will be other responsible adults present.
- Designate or learn the specific route that will be taken in your neighborhood so it will be easy to locate your trick-or-treaters at any time. Make sure they know they should not stray from the designated route and that they or an adult chaperone should check in with you frequently.
- Make sure you’ve spoken with children about the dangers of talking to or approaching strangers. Even if you will be trick-or-treating with them, it is important for them to be aware that not all adults can be trusted and they should avoid people that they don’t know.
- Refresh kids on the basics of properly crossing the street by looking both ways, using crosswalks and holding hands before crossing.
Tips for Trick-or-Treaters:
- When trick-or-treating with friends, try to stick with the group at all times and avoid getting left alone. Sometimes it can be hard for adults to keep track of every child they have with them, so help make their job easier by staying close.
- Walk only on sidewalks and avoid going into the street unless you are crossing with your group. When you are crossing with your group, make sure you look both ways and walk across only when it is safe. Do not run and risk tripping and falling in the street.
- Do not walk or stand near candles, luminaries or flame lit jack-o-lanterns.
- Only visit well lit houses, never enter the homes of people that you don’t know and never accept rides from strangers.
- Do your best to avoid eating your candy until you have gotten it home for your parents to check it for you, but if you must, eat only factory-wrapped candy that you have received from trusted adults or neighbors. Homemade or hand wrapped treats from strangers should be avoided.
- Try not to overdo it with all the delicious candy and treats. Halloween is no fun with a stomachache and Pepto-Bismol doesn’t taste as good as snickers!