For young children, Halloween night is one of the best of the year. But trick-or-treating can be dangerous if kids and parents aren’t careful. Take a look at some vital trick-or-treating tips before you accompany your child.
1. Plan a route in advance.
Trick-or-treating could take you several streets away from your house, which can cause sore legs and a bit of frustration. Avoid long paths by mapping out a route before leaving the house. Stick to paths that you and your child are familiar with to avoid getting lost.
2. Wear comfy shoes.
Make sure you and your children are in comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Girls in dresses should avoid heels, and all shoelaces should be double-tied to avoid tripping in the dark.
3. Stay well-lit.
Apply reflective tape to your child’s costume to ensure they are seen by drivers on the road. Also, carry a flashlight with you to keep your child’s path lit at all times.
4. Make sure all costumes are short.
Long costumes that drag on the ground can be dangerous, especially at night. After purchasing your child’s costume, make sure it’s an appropriate length, and hem anything that’s too long to avoid tripping.
5. Avoid masks.
Masks can make it difficult for your child to see or breathe. If possible, skip the mask altogether and use non-toxic make-up to complete the costume instead.
6. Use flexible props.
Try to avoid costumes that have weapons as accessories. But if your child’s costume won’t be complete without a weapon, make sure it is rubber or plastic. Choose a prop that won’t cause injury to your child or their friends.
7. Check your child’s candy.
When sorting through candy at the end of the night, be sure to throw away any candy that is not in its original wrapper, or looks as though it has been opened.
5 Halloween Safety Tips for Parents
The first day of autumn brings thoughts of pumpkins, apple cider — and trick-or-treating! Halloween is around the corner, and it should be a fun-filled day and night for children. Parents should take precautions to make sure that their little goblins and princesses have a fantastic time. It’s one of my favorite nights of the year. I’m stockpiling my treats already!
Make sure all costumes are flame retardant. To avoid a tripping hazard, keep the length a bit above the ankles. If your child is carrying wands, swords or other accessories, make sure that they are soft and flexible with no sharp points. For little ones, choose brightly colored costumes that stand out; you’ll also be able to recognize your child easier if they are with a group. I also recommend putting reflective tape or glow in the dark stickers on the costume and on the goodie bag. Finally, sexually provocative or violent/gory costumes are inappropriate for a child; let’s protect their innocence as long as possible.
As for the candy, no munching allowed until Mom or Dad check the candy out at home. Choking hazards abound for young children. Hard candy, gum or small toys with removable parts shouldn’t be given to children under the age of 4. Don’t give it out from your home and make sure you check your child’s bag to remove anything that can block their airway. If a child has allergies, make sure you remove any suspect candy. You can substitute it with something they can eat. Buy their favorite treats to exchange for any treats you need to take away. I always keep bags of pretzels, fruit rolls and chips on-hand for children who can’t have nuts or chocolate.
Please make sure that your child knows NEVER to enter an unknown home or apartment without a parent on Halloween — or at any other time. Children should ring the bell, step back, yell “trick or treat” and then let the adult come forward and put the candy in the bag. After a big “thank you,” move along. Kids are trusting. They need to know that they can only enter the home of a friend, never the home of a stranger. Another word of caution: If you are handing out the candy, make sure that it is children that are knocking on your door. You don’t want to let a perpetrator gain access to you and your home. Look out the window or peephole before opening the door.
Know the rules of the road: Unfortunately, children get hurt, usually in traffic accidents, on this fun night. Teach your child basic traffic safety rules before leaving your home. They need to look both ways before crossing the street. Make sure they do not dart out from in between cars; they should always cross at corners. Children should not be listening to music in headphones that can distract them or wearing masks that hamper their vision. I think face paint is a great alternative to a mask. Children are prone to running too, so slow them down and assure them that the candy will be waiting. All children under the age of 12 should be supervised.
Prepare for unexpected events. Carry a cell phone and a flashlight. I also recommend that you write your child’s name, address and phone number on a name tag and put it on their costume in case they get lost. Carry an EpiPen if your child has allergies. Have a conversation with your child about all safety issues before they leave home so they will have a Happy Halloween!