Halloween is a favorite holiday for many children. They have the unique opportunity to wear elaborate costumes-masquerading as their favorite princess, pirate, or monster for a few hours-and at each place they go, they are showered with free candy.
While Halloween may seem like a dream come true for your child, as a parent, you know that the holiday can also be a dangerous one. With that in mind, here are a few tips for keeping your family safe on October 31st.
•· Teach your kids to never go into a stranger’s home, especially on Halloween. All trick-or-treating should be done from the driveway, stoop, or front porch. Tell your child that if they feel uncomfortable while trick-or-treating for any reason, they should leave right away and find a trustworthy adult.
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•· It is advised to always check the candy your children bring home. For years, news stories have reported the presence of everything from razor blades to poison in Halloween candy. Closely inspect wrappers for punctures and any candy that looks like it has been tampered with should be thrown away immediately. Your child should not eat home-baked treats from strangers, and only consume factory-wrapped goodies. Remind your child not to eat candy while they are trick-or-treating, unless an adult has checked it first.
•· Check and double-check your child’s costume for any safety hazards while they are wearing it. Oftentimes, costumes hang and fit differently on a human than on a hanger. Make sure that any costumes are free from tripping hazards and dangling parts that might impede natural movement. Kids love to run, and oftentimes the combination of running children, baskets of candy, and cumbersome costumes can be a recipe for disaster. Additionally, make sure that any masks, hats, or other head accessories don’t obstruct your child’s vision.
•· On a similar note, make sure your child will be extremely visible. Attach reflective patches or blinking lights to their shoes and costumes. Many costumes are dark, and the combination of dark clothing, children running back and forth across roads, and cars also on the road can be a dangerous one. Often, costume stores sell themed lights, such as small strobes in the shape of pumpkins and bats that may make wearing the lights more fun for your child. Flashlights, glow sticks, and reflective tape are also good ways to keep kids visible while trick-or-treating.
If you will have trick-or-treaters visiting your own home, keep these quick safety tips in mind:
•o Make sure walkways and stairways are well lit. Strobe lights on porches can be disorienting and lead to falls. Luminaries, jack-o-lanterns, and real candles are also a fire and burn hazard, so these should be kept well out of reach of children and pets.
•o If you have a pet, make sure that they are put away in a closed room or their crate. Some children may be afraid of animals, and with the door opening frequently, your pet may try to run out into the night.
•o The most common trick-or-treating hours are between 5:30 and 9:30, so expect children during this time frame.
Halloween is an exciting day for children and adults of all ages, and keeping these simple safety tips in mind will help you and your family safely celebrate the October 31st holiday.