Ever think about how strange some of our Halloween traditions are? The biggest one probably being that we encourage kids to ask strangers for candy. But, your little trick-or-treaters are undoubtedly more concerned about the candy they will collect than their safety. So, check out these Halloween safety tips to ensure your little ghosts and goblins have a fun (and safe) night.
1. The Perfect Costume = the right length + easy to see!
The number one, most important Halloween safety tip: make sure other drivers can see your child! If your trick-or-treater has their heart set on being a stealthy ninja, deck out their costume with glow sticks and fun, light-up necklaces. Let them pick out their glow sticks and necklaces at the store. This can help them get excited about the idea and more likely to wear them.
2. Do a Quick Skin Test of Any Costume Makeup or Face Paint
No need to completely paint up their face, just apply a small amount of the makeup to their skin and wait to see if any redness or skin irritation appears. It’s better to find out if their butterfly princess makeup is going to turn them into a zombie princess before you’re out in the crowded streets trying to enjoy Halloween.
3. Explain the Spooky Sights They May See
For young children, it will be important to explain what they may see before you head out for trick-or-treating. Explain that the costumes look scary but are just kids in masks. You can also equip them with some coping strategies, such as:
- Practice reciting a line they can say in their head like "Everything is okay, it's just pretend"
- Bring along their favorite toy or blanket they can hold if they get scared
- Make it easy for them to find you throughout the night if they want to leave
This will help keep them calm so you can focus on other child safety tasks.
4. Stay Safe, Stay Outside
Remind your trick-or-treaters that they should never enter a stranger's house to get Halloween Candy. Even if they can see the candy bowl or other kids go in the house, make sure they know to stay outside.
5. Keep Watch for Choking Hazards
Keep children’s trick-or-treating bags with you rather than letting them snack while you drive. This way you can check their bag for candy or toys that may pose as a choking hazard before they put it in their mouth.
6. Read the Labels and Inspect
Every year we hear about the crazy things people may be trying to sneak into children's Halloween candy. So, it's a good idea to go through their candy and look for anything suspicious.
Signs of tampering with Halloween candy may include:
- Candy that's repackaged into gift bags
- Wrapper discoloration or wear
- Small holes or tears in wrappers
If any of your trick-or-treaters have allergies it's also important to read their candy's labels and the candy of anybody they may share with.
7. Be Cautious of Homemade Treats
A good rule of thumb is to tell your kids to only accept homemade treats from people you all know. If a stranger is giving out homemade treats, they can either politely decline or move on to the next house.
8. Save a Jack-O-Lantern, Paint a Pumpkin
You probably jump at the thought of handing a knife to a small child. While carving pumpkins may be a fun tradition, young children shouldn't be handling a knife. Even the plastic carving tool-kits are surprisingly sharp. For optimal child safety, try one of these alternatives:
- Paint pumpkins instead. Honestly, this is much easier and doesn't let it rot as quickly.
- Instruct young children to draw their jack-o-lantern design with a marker and then have an adult carve it for them.
9. Make your Jack-O-Lantern Glow
Swap out the candles for glow sticks. Even though the candles that go in pumpkins are small, having an open flame while children are roaming the sidewalks and yards can be disastrous. Play it safe and light up your pumpkins with a glow stick or battery operated candle.
10. Clear Out the Yard
Remember, kids don't always follow the sidewalk to your door. Even if you're not going to be home to hand out candy, make sure your yard is free of tripping hazards. Also, turning your porch light on may help avoid injuries. If you're not passing out candy, leave a sign on your door but keep your house lit.
For more Halloween safety tips check out this article from HealthyChildren.org. And most importantly, have fun! Child safety is important and we hope these Halloween safety tips will help your family have a fun and safe night of trick-or-treating.