Hilarious costumes, a spooky atmosphere, and, of course, CANDY. Halloween is here. But while the little ones are gearing up for this much-loved holiday, it’s up to parents to make sure their children stay safe. By taking a few simple precautions, you can make sure your child’s Halloween goes off without a hitch.
Safety starts with the right costume
Make sure your child’s Halloween costume allows them to move freely and breathe properly. Masks can make for a striking costume, but they should never obscure vision or go all the way around the head of a small child. And make sure the mouth hole is large enough for your child’s voice to be heard—and for air to get in!
Can your child walk and run around in their costume? Take a test jog around the yard if you aren’t sure. Never sacrifice range of motion for a ‘wow’ factor. Many costumes come with “faux feet” and slippers but real shoes should be worn at all times while trick-or-treating.
Visibility is key for a safe Halloween costume. If your child’s costume is all black, add some reflective stickers to their shoes and belt so that they can be seen by cars once the sun goes down.
Navigating the neighborhood
Discuss car safety before you leave the house. It can be tempting for kids to run on to the street in a mad rush to fill their buckets, but the laws of the road still apply—even on Halloween. Teach your kids that they should always look both ways before crossing the street, and to make use of crosswalks and sidewalks. A distracted driver may not see a small child dash out into the road to knock on the next door. With so much to see and take in, it’s easy for kids to forget that roads are still for cars on October 31st. Hold your small child’s hand while crossing the street as you would on any other night.
Walking in a Transformer costume or in a large tulle princess skirt isn’t always easy. No child wants to head home early after tripping on a branch or missing a curb. To avoid trips and stumbles, take a flashlight with you to navigate darker, more rural areas. If your little one is holding the flashlight themselves, teach them to point it down and not in the eyes of others.
If your older child is going trick-or-treating without you this year, make sure they understand the importance of staying in a group of friends. Making a verbal contract with their buddies to keep track of each other is vital for staying out of trouble. Have them take a mobile phone along and agree on a return time before they leave the house. For a bonus, sit down with them and plan a trick-or-treat route on an easy-to-read map. Drive home the importance of never ever entering a stranger’s home or walking up to a house without the porch light on.
The candy inspection
We’ve all heard stories about sharp items being hidden in treats. While it’s highly unlikely that this will happen in your neighborhood, there’s no harm in giving your child’s candy a once over before they dive in. Make sure all wrappers are intact and factory sealed. Only accept homemade items or baked goods from people you know. For younger children, give a pull on lollipops to make sure the top is on tightly. Remove any age-inappropriate choking hazards. And lastly, take all of the good chocolate for yourself. We call that the “Parent Tax.”
Wishing your family a safe and happy Halloween!