The magic of Halloween is fun for kids of all ages: dressing up, trick-or-treating, attending parties or visiting a haunted house. But while kids may view it as all fun and games, parents often have safety concerns surrounding Halloween. From being out at night to crossing the road and food allergies to costume hazards, there are many things to worry about. Don’t let concerns stop you and your kids from enjoying the festivities; check out these tips for a fun and safe Halloween.
Checklist for Trick-or-Treating
Before you set out for trick-or-treating, use this checklist to make sure your children are prepared:
- Candy bag
- Reflector strips or glow sticks
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Route for trick-or-treating
- Established meet-up time and place
- Emergency identification information
- Costume check
- Bottled water
- Cell phone
- House key
- Goody bag for snacks and treats
Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treating
Follow these safety tips to make trick-or-treating fun and safe for your children:
- Go early – There’s no need to wait until it’s pitch black to trick-or-treat. Going just before dusk makes it easier to keep track of your kids and see others on the street.
- Be visible – Brightly-colored costumes are great because they are easier to see, but you can also attach reflective tape to costumes to make children more visible. Glow necklaces, glow sticks and flashlights also make kids easier to see.
- Don’t go alone – Children should never trick-or-treat alone. Kids under 12 should go with an adult, while more mature kids should trick-or-treat with a group.
- Plan a route – Know your route before you head out. If you have older kids who are trick-or-treating with friends, plan a route with them that you’re comfortable with before they leave.
- Obey traffic laws – Cross at corners, using the crosswalk when one is available, and wait for the walk signal at stop lights.
Look before you cross – Make sure children know to stop and look both ways before crossing a street.
- Cross safely – Put down electronics and walk, don’t run, across the street when crossing.
- Stick with sidewalks – Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. Walk as far to the left as possible facing oncoming traffic when there aren’t sidewalks.
- Visit houses you know – It’s best to only visit houses where your children know the people who live there.
- Don’t visit dark houses – Houses that are dark or don’t have Halloween decorations probably aren’t set up for trick-or-treaters.
- Don’t go inside – Sometimes people invite children into their homes to give them candy. Make sure your little ones know they should never enter someone’s home while trick-or-treating. If the homeowner insists, they should walk away without candy.
- Say no – Teach children to say “no” if a stranger offers them a ride or wants to take them to a Halloween party.
- Stay on track – Avoid shortcuts through yards or alleys. Stay in well-lit areas with other people around.
- Don’t sample – Teach children to gather candy during trick-or-treating without sampling it so that you have a chance to inspect it before they dig in. Give them a goody bag to snack from instead while they are out.
- Check for choking hazards – Hard candies, caramels, jelly beans, marshmallows and lollipops are potential choking hazards. Remove these items from young children’s bags and keep an eye on older children.
Teal Pumpkins for Kids with Food Allergies
About 1 in 13 kids in the United States have food allergies. This can make it difficult for them to enjoy Halloween because they often can’t eat the candy. However, people are starting to offer alternatives for kids with allergies to make the day fun for everyone. If your child has food allergies, look for homes with teal pumpkins. This lets you know they have non-food treats to hand out. If you would like to hand out treats for kids with food allergies, then paint a pumpkin teal and stock up on some of these non-food goodies:
- Glow sticks or bracelets
- Vampire teeth
- Waxed lips
- Small toys
Keep costumes safe with these tips:
- Use reflective tape or stickers to decorate costumes and bags.
- Choose bright or light colors when possible.
- Avoid masks when possible because they can restrict a child’s view. Use face paint to create the look instead. If your child must wear a mask, choose one that fits snugly, is well ventilated, and has large eyeholes.
- Select costumes that fit properly to avoid trips and falls.
- Choose fire-resistant wigs, costumes and accessories.
- Purchase non-toxic makeup or face paint and test it on a small area earlier in the day.
- Avoid potential rashes and irritation by washing off makeup and face paint before kids go to bed.
If you are out driving on Halloween, take extra care to watch for children and stay safe with these driving tips:
- Drive slowly and be alert in residential neighborhoods.
- Check twice for kids on medians, at corners and on curbs.
- Enter and exit alleys and driveways slowly.
- Concentrate on the road and eliminate distractions in your vehicle.
- Expect heavy pedestrian traffic.
- Turn on headlights sooner than normal.
- Be particularly alert between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m., prime trick-or-treating hours.
- Watch for kids in dark costumes.
Halloween is a fun time. Make the most of the festivities and keep the day safe and enjoyable for your little ones by following these tips.