Essential Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween is one of the most enjoyable times of the year for kids - dressing up, candy, jack o'lanterns - it's all good for them. But, within the fun of trick or treating and costumes, parents need to be aware of several safety issues so kids can have a fun and safe time.
From safety issues with trick or treating, costumes that can present choking or tripping dangers, and the perils of adult parties, Halloween has a lot of different aspects that could be dangerous. To ensure yours is only fun, take a look at these safety areas to keep in mind during this ghoulish season.
Trick or Treating
- Tell kids never to go inside a home. Ever. Just because someone offers candy and seems fun it is not a reason to go inside a home. Also, tell kids never to get into a car with a stranger on this night (or ever.) They may go out with their friends and get tired and think a quick ride home is OK, but it's not.
- Make sure to bring a flashlight on the route to illuminate the way in places that aren't well lit. Walking in unfamiliar costumes plus low light could cause a fall.
- Have reflective tape on costumes so cars can see the kids.
- Make sure children go trick or treating with a responsible adult and that there is a manageable child to adult ratio. With all the kids out there on the streets you have to keep track of the kids and costumes etc., you want to make sure there are enough adults to watch the kids in your group.
- Have a firm rule that kids can't eat any candy until they get home and an adult checks it for tampering. This includes older children that may trick or treat on their own. Kids will want to eat it right away, so you should explain the safety reason for the delay to them. Make sure kids don't eat any candy that is unwrapped or homemade or looks tampered with. When in doubt, throw the candy way.
- If kids are at an age where they can go without an adult, make sure they go trick or treating in groups.
- In addition, make sure kids know to go to well lit houses and only to a front door. It may be Halloween but it's still stranger's homes so they need to know where it's safe to go.
- If kids go alone, make sure you plan a safe route for them to take in an area with side streets and limited traffic. Make sure they know not to take short cuts and go down alleys. And make sure they have a cellphone.
- And make sure you stay on the sidewalks and obey all traffic signs.
- Ensure that kids can see out of any mask they wear. They will be walking around at night, going up steps and down steps, maybe on grass etc., so having the ability to see clearly is important.
- Avoid big shoes and long skirts or pants that can make kids trip. They kids want to have fun costumes but they also have to be safe to walk around in.
- Make sure all costume accessories are safe: check that knives and swords don't have sharp edges, and anything small can't be swallowed etc.
- Make sure the costumes you buy are flame resistant.
- Kids want to dress up as the most inventive things, just watch that the costume children wear are age appropriate.
- As stated above, have kids wait to eat Halloween candy until they get home and an adult can check it.
- If doing the traditional pumpkin carving, make sure kids do it with an adult so that carving is fun and safe. If kids are too young to use the knife, let them draw the outline of the face on the pumpkin and the use their hands to scoop out the seeds. That way they are a part of the fun, while staying safe.
- Since the foods for Halloween tend to be seasonal with ingredients only used at that time of year, make sure ingredients that may have sat on shelves are fresh.
- It is a season for parties and for adults partying can also mean drinking. Make sure if you are drinking you have a designated driver or take cabs, and if you host a party you watch your guests. With all the safety in mind for kids at this time of year, adults need to remember to be responsible as well. You might dress up as a superhero, but you are very human.
Halloween is one of the most fun times of the year for adults and children, so make sure you keep these simple safety tips in mind to ensure your holiday is a fun one. And take the opportunity to explain the reason for these safety tips to children; it's a good time to explain that while it's always good to have fun you still need to be alert and careful.