Halloween is around the corner, which means that kids are getting excited for trick–or–treating, pumpkin carving, dressing up and, of course, snacking on yummy treats. This is a fun time of year for parents and kids alike, but going out on Halloween can also pose health and safety risks. Here are a few tips to ensure a safe and stress–free Halloween for the whole family.
1. Trick–or–treat in your Neighborhood
There’s nothing kids love more than spooking adults into handing over sugary treats, but trick–or–treating can be quite dangerous without the proper precautions. Children under twelve should always be accompanied by adults, travel in groups and go only to homes in their neighborhood. If possible, it’s also a good idea to give your child a cellphone and show them how to call you or 911 in case they get separated. Older kids who go unattended should know their route in advance and only go to well–lit homes of people the know in their neighborhood.
2. Choose a Safe Costume
Choosing the right costume is about more than just being spooky; as a parent, you want to make sure your child is safe and easily identifiable at night. It’s a good idea to go trick–or–treating before it gets too late, but going out in the dark will always be a big risk factor on Halloween. Choosing a light or bright costume can make it much easier to spot your child in case you get separated. Glow–in–the–dark clothing or reflective tape are also helpful, as they alert drivers that children are crossing the street. Besides night safety, it’s a good idea to watch out for dangerous items like swords, knives, flammable objects and constricting masks.
3. Sort through the Goodies
The first thing your kids will want to do when they get home is look through the bounty they have in their Halloween bags. But before they get to work on their goodies, you can help them sort out any suspicious items such as unsealed candies, torn packages or anything that looks damaged or spoiled. Homemade snacks should be avoided unless they come from a neighbor whom you know and trust. Certain snacks, such as large candy balls, can cause choking in young children and should be thrown out.
4. Keep Kids Healthy
We all remember stuffing ourselves with sugary sweets on Halloween, and some of that is all right as long as it’s done in moderation. One way to keep children from eating too many unhealthy goodies is to provide them with some alternative “treats” of your own, such as toys, pencils, notebooks and games. Take a look through the treats they’ve collected and try to space out snacking by keeping them out of reach in the kitchen. If it’s a particularly large haul, consider handing out some of the treats to friends and family.
5. Drive Safely
Keeping safe on Halloween also means watching out for other children in your community. Be sure to drive slowly, signal clearly and double–check all crosswalks in residential neighborhoods. Kids might be wearing dark costumes, so it’s important to be vigilant. And be careful as you enter and exit driveways, as kids may show up unexpectedly as they dash from home to home.