Put yourself in the mindset of a child during the Halloween season. It’s an exciting time filled with an abundance of spooky events and candy, but some activities can present a potential risk for safety threats. While adult supervision during trick-or-treating should be top priority for parents, there are many other safety tips for parents to keep in mind.
While your family is ready to begin the fun, seasonal traditions, be sure to take the time to practice and discuss the following safety precautions with your children to help keep your family safe.
Trick-or-treating is one of the most beloved Halloween traditions. Children should never trick-or-treat alone, especially children under 12 years of age. If possible, it’s recommended to begin the activity while it is still light out and families should only visit trusted locations. Allowing younger siblings to trick-or-treat with older siblings can be dangerous because pre-teens and teens can be impulsive and easily distracted. Older children should trick-or-treat with a large group of friends, parents, or neighbors. Only approach fully lit homes, as not all neighbors celebrate Halloween or are available trick-or-treat night.
Before starting your route, make sure someone in the group has a flashlight easily available and installed with fresh batteries. Once it begins to get dark out, keep your flashlight on. Try to avoid walking in the streets as much as possible, and use sidewalks or paths. Adults should lead children when crossing the street, as distracted driving is hazardous on Halloween. Be sure to cross the street at corners, properly use traffic signals and look both ways before crossing.
Bright costumes are the best option on trick-or-treat night. As fall is in full effect, it gets darker much earlier and the moon might not be bright enough to light the way. Glow sticks or bright tape can be used as an accessory to make costumes more visible. It is strongly recommended that masks are avoided, as they can restrict light, obstruct vision and make it difficult for children to see potential risks. Face paint or makeup may be a better option, as long as it is non-toxic and is intended for use on face and skin. Testing face paint or makeup in a small dose is recommended prior to fully using, to ensure no allergic reactions will occur. Avoid non-prescription contacts since they can cause eye damage.
Does your child want to wear their older sibling’s super cool costume from last year? Make sure all costumes fit properly and won’t cause a tripping hazard. Oversized shoes and high heels can also lead to falls. Lastly, try to avoid allowing children to wear costumes that have dangerous accessories, such as guns, swords, knives, or other weapons.
The excess amount of sweets and chocolates is what most children look forward to during Halloween. Between parties at school and trick-or-treat night, there will be plenty of candy to last awhile. Be sure to check for signs of tampering before children are allowed to dig into treats and discard any candy that is not completely wrapped. Consider putting limits on how much candy a child can eat per day, as it is important to still maintain a healthy diet.
In addition to these recommendations, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for additional Halloween safety advice and tips.