Halloween is Just Around the Corner – Be Safe!
We love Halloween! It’s just about time for those little ghosts, goblins, pirates and super heroes to come knocking on your door. Here are some tips for keeping Halloween visitors safe.
When you prepare your child’s costume, be sure all fabrics, materials and wigs are flame retardant and that masks have both eye and breathing holes and that eye holes are large enough for good peripheral vision. It might be a good idea to instruct your child to lift the mask over the head while walking. Or choose nontoxic face paint as an alternative to a mask.
Long, flowing costumes require extra caution near flames, like lighted jack-o-lanterns. Choose well-fitting shoes to avoid tripping. Costumes should have reflective tape for visibility, and trick or treaters should carry flashlights or chemical glow sticks.
Be sure props like swords or brooms are made of flexible material. Law enforcement discourages the use of realistic looking toy guns. A large, deep trick or treat bag will help prevent candy spills on streets and driveways. You might want to put a tag inside your child’s costume with name, address and phone number.
Be sure kids eat dinner before heading out into the spooky night – this may help them resist the temptation to eat candy before you have checked it. You could also send a little bag of your own treats to help tide them over.
Check all goodies when your child returns and discard anything that is not individually wrapped, has broken or torn wrappers, or any beverages that are not sealed. When in doubt, throw it out! Avoid giving hard candy to toddlers and young preschoolers because of the choking hazard.
The age at which a child can trick or treat without an adult varies with maturity. The National Safety Council recommends that children under age 12 be supervised.
When your child is ready to venture out without you, it is best for kids to go in groups. Send along a cell phone and instruct the trick or treaters to stay together for the entire evening. Agree on a time to be home. Map out a route and point out off-limits areas like alleys and open fields. Children should only go to homes of people they know, and should avoid houses with the outside lights off.
Talk about basic safety rules like walking, staying on sidewalks, safely crossing the street, and dealing with strangers. Bikes, skateboards and scooters should never be used while trick or treating.
Prepare Your Property
If you will be welcoming little Halloween revelers, turn on your porch light and all other outside lights. Clear your yard of tripping hazards like tools, plant pots and toys and close garage doors. Children don’t always stay on the sidewalks! Consider using battery-powered lights or chemical glow sticks in your jack-o-lanterns.
If you do use candles, place them well away from areas where children might walk.
Consider backing your cars into the garage for the evening. Then if you do need to drive, you will have a better view of children on the sidewalk than if you have to back the car out. You might also consider isolating your pets for the evening; many pets get very agitated by the strange sights and sounds. Be sure pets are wearing collars and tags just in case they escape through a frequently opened door.
Some kinds of candy can be hazardous to pets, so keep candy out of the dog’s reach.