Dressing up in silly (or scary) costumes, having fun with friends, indulging in yummy treats. Kids of all ages enjoy this spooky holiday. But according to Kidsafe.org, only 1/3 of parents talk to their kids throughout the year about Halloween safety, yet nearly 3/4 report having Halloween safety fears. Read on for a few simple ways to help keep your family safe.
Only choose store bought costumes and accessories that are labeled ‘flame resistant.’ Make sure clothing fits well (including shoes), and pick bright colors that make your child more visible in the dark. Masks can make it harder for your child to breathe or see clearly. If possible, use non-toxic makeup instead to complete their costume. And if your child is carrying a prop sword or knife, it should be made of rubber or soft plastic.
Before heading out, add reflective tape or stickers to your child’s costume. It helps them be seen in the dark. Give your child a flashlight with fresh batteries, and only visit homes with outside lights on. Remind your kids about everyday safety like looking left, right, and left again before crossing the street. Kids should also stay on sidewalks – cutting through yards lead to accidents.
Who needs a chaperone?
Kids under age 12 need to trick or treat with an adult. If your child is older than 12, make sure he or she can reach you by cell phone. Even if your tween is mature enough to go out alone, they should stay in familiar areas and go in groups. They should also have a pre-planned route and a set time to be home.
Screen candy before diving in.
It can be tempting for kids (and adults) to sneak a few pieces when there’s lots of candy in their bags. But it’s important to inspect treats and candy before you eat them. Throw out anything that’s not completely wrapped or in its original wrapper. If nut allergies are a problem, check all treats carefully. And popcorn and hard candy aren’t recommended for kids under four – both are choking hazards.
Driving safely matters.
Even if you aren’t taking part in the fun, it’s important to be extra vigilant when kids are out trick-or-treating. This is usually between 5:30 and 9:30 pm. Slow down, especially at residential neighborhoods, eliminate distractions inside the car so you can focus on the road, and look twice for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.