Halloween is one of the most fun holidays. Dressing up in costumes, going around and meeting new people, getting free candy and sweets—it’s a holiday both children and adults love. Follow these safety tips below to ensure a fun and exciting Halloween night.
1) Choosing a costume: If you child is under 12, try to avoid costumes with excessive material, such as long sleeves/pants or capes, that your child could trip on or could brush up against a jack-o’-lantern and possibly catch fire. Choose brightly colored costumes that can be easily seen. Face paint is preferable to masks because masks can obstruct your child’s vision.
2) Trick-or-treating: Children under 12 should go with their parents or other adults. Prior to Halloween, talk about the route you will take in the neighborhood and why you should stay on the sidewalks. While Halloween is a fun time, we also need to remember there are other people out driving that might be drinking or not paying attention on the road. Go to the dollar store and get glow sticks for your child to wear on his/her neck, arms, legs, etc., so they will be seen when walking the neighborhood. Advise your child to avoid walking through yards because you don’t know if there are holes or other items in the yard that your child could trip on. If a light is not on at the house, don’t go up to it. Only approach houses with their front porch light on and a door that can be seen from the street. Children over 12 should agree with their parents on a designated neighborhood and what time they will be home. Make sure your 12-and-over child brings his/her cellphone, glow sticks and/or a flashlight and goes with a group of friends, never alone. If safety is a concern, see if a church or neighborhood organization is sponsoring an event as an alternative to going door-to-door. Even if well-lit and security is present, make sure your kids don’t get lost in the crowd. And be cautious of adults in masks who may be purposely hiding their identity.
3) Eating treats: Inspect all the treats before your child eats anything. Teach your child what to look for when inspecting the treats, such as a wrapper that looks like it’s been opened before, torn paper, different colored wrapping than the other candies, holes in the candy wrapper, and once opened, anything that smells funny or looks off-colored. Toss any handmade cookies or fruit unless you trust and/or know the person who gave it to your child.
4) Carving pumpkins: Carving pumpkins can be a fun and exciting activity to do with your child. For those five and younger, it’s not advisable to give them a carving knife. Let them pick out the design and help you clean out the pumpkin, but have them watch you carve the pumpkin. For older children, special knives can be bought at the dollar store that are safe for children to use. Supervise your child and show them how to carve without hurting themselves. Once carved, use a battery-operated candle to avoid a possible fire hazard.
5) Making your home safe for trick-or-treaters: You and your child may enjoy giving out treats to other children. You’ll want to create a safe environment for anyone coming to your house. Keep dogs away from the front door, no matter how small or large. Some children might be scared of dogs, and your dogs might react to all the strangers coming to the house. Make sure your porch light is on and your porch free of debris. Keep candy by the door, so you can easily give out treats. Keep a light on in the hallway to avoid scaring kids that come to your door. Keep jack-o’-lanterns away from the reach of children.