Halloween is one of the favorite holidays for children, a time for them to dress up, go trick or treating, and enjoy all the spooky rituals on the last day of October. Every year, it seems Halloween becomes an even bigger holiday – among both children and adults – including Day of the Dead celebrations, mischief night October 30th, and school parties sometimes spanning the whole week. But while you focus on finding the perfect costume, decorating the house, and fill your candy bowl, it’s important to keep safety in mind.
In fact, only 1 out of 3 parents talk to their children about safety precautions before Halloween at all, though 3 out of 4 of them have serious concerns about their health and safety. On average, children are twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day.
So here are some great tips for children, parents, and folks in the community to share so we can keep our kids safe and happy this Halloween:
1. Don’t eat candy along the way. Wait until they get home, so you can pour it out and have an adult sort through it, throwing out anything suspicious. Some parents purchase their own assorted candy and give that to their kids, throwing out what was gathered from strangers.
2. Don’t play in piles of leaves along the street. This is important in places with large amounts of fall foliage, where the piles of leaves can get pretty high as people rake them onto the side of the street for pickup. Children sometimes like jumping in these piles of leaves to play, but passing motorists can’t see them.
3. Walk in groups and with supervising adults – don’t wander off.
4. Don’t go inside stranger’s houses and never accept a ride from a stranger.
5. Fasten some reflective tape to your children’s costumes so drivers can spot them at night.
6. Give them a good miniature flashlight they can strap around their wrist.
7. Have a pre-set route with designated street crossing points, “safe” houses of friends or family in case they need to use the bathroom or warm up, and a meeting point in case anyone gets separated.
8. Never eat candy that’s not packaged or wrapped. Don’t eat apples, home made treats, or anything not still in its original seal.
9. Organize Halloween parties instead of trick or treating on neighborhood streets.
10. Make sure you child wears a costume that fits correctly so they can walk in it without tripping, their vision isn’t impaired, and the costume is flame resistant.
11. Test any makeup or face paints on a small area of their skin first to make sure they don’t have an allergic reaction.
12. Use electric lights in Jack o’ lanterns and electric candles to avoid fire risks.
13. If a sword, stick, or cane is part of your child’s costume, make sure it is made of shatter proof plastic with no sharp tips or edges.
14. Do not use decorative contact lenses without checking with an eye care professional first. Many of the lenses that say: “One size fits all,” or claim to be safe can actually cause scratching, infections, or injuries to children.
15. Don’t let kids carve pumpkins with knives. Allow your children to draw creative faces on the pumpkin with a magic marker, and then let the adults do the actual carving.
16. Make sure your outdoor lights work, and your walkway, front steps, and porch are unobstructed and not slippery.
17. If you are going to be answering the door for Trick or Treaters, put your dog in a side room so they won’t be tempted to rush at visitors or try and run outside.
18. Give your kids a safety whistle and write their name, phone number, address, emergency contact numbers, etc. on an index card and have them carry it in their pocket.
19. Let them go out early, starting in the late afternoon, so they’ll be walking around when it’s mostly light out.
20. Consider letting your child carry a cell phone for emergency use, with 911 and your home phone number preset.