Kids love Halloween. It’s a chance to dress up, decorate pumpkins, and go door-to-door collecting bags of candy. As a parent, there are several simple steps you can take to make sure your kids have a holiday that’s both fun and safe.
Make smart costume choices.
- If possible, choose a light-colored costume that can be easily seen while trick or treating in the evening. If the costume is dark-colored, put a stripe of reflective tape on both the front and back to make your child more visible.
- Make sure all parts of the costume, including shoes, fit properly to keep your child from tripping.
- Prop swords, wands and similar accessories should be made of soft, flexible material.
- If the costume includes a mask, check to make sure your child’s vision isn’t blocked, which is important when they cross the street or go up and down stairs. Another option is to swap masks for non-toxic face paint.
- Check that the material the costume is made of is flame-retardant.
Keep trick or treating safe.
- Children should not trick or treat alone. It’s safer to trick or treat in a group with friends if your children are middle-school aged, or in a group with friends and an adult that you know well and trust if your children are younger.
- Each child should carry a flashlight. It makes it easier for your child to be seen and for your child to see as the evening gets darker.
- For older children trick or treating with friends, make sure you know the route they’ll take and tell them to stay on well-lit streets and away from shortcuts through alleys and other dark, less travelled places. If possible, have them carry a cell phone so they can get in touch with you if they need help.
- Kids should walk on the sidewalk, or if there is no sidewalk, facing traffic close to the side of the road.
- Cross streets safely by crossing at the crosswalk or corner.
- Tell your children never to go into anyone’s houses or cars, even if someone seems “nice” and invites them in.
- Your kids shouldn’t eat any of their treats before you get home so you can inspect the candy. Throw out anything with a torn or damaged wrapper and homemade treats from people you don’t know.
Carve (and decorate) carefully.
- Young children can draw their design on a pumpkin, but an adult should do all the carving. Even some of the "kid-safe” plastic carving tools can cause cuts and punctures, so they’re not a safe choice for younger kids.
- Rather than putting candles inside your jack-o-lanterns, substitute a flameless candle or glow stick to reduce the risks of burns and fires.
- If you’re decorating your home and lawn, make sure your decorations don’t create a tripping hazard for visiting trick or treaters. Check all decorative lights to make sure the wires are in good condition. Keep your porch and lawn well lit if you’re welcoming trick or treaters.
With a little planning and common sense, you and your kids can enjoy a safer Halloween this year.
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