Young children have a wonderful way of breathing new life into traditions and holidays – and Halloween is a prime example. Their wonderment and enthusiasm are all the motivation many of us need to break out the decorations, carve a couple of pumpkins, whip up a quick costume, and head out for some trick-or-treating.
But all the excitement of the holiday can cause safety to be overlooked to potentially disastrous ends.
To ensure that everyone has a fun and safe Halloween, follow these simple safety tips.
Halloween Costume Safety Tips
- Buy flame-resistant costumes, masks, wigs, etc. Look for the Flame Resistant label.
- Avoid costumes with long trains, baggy sleeves or loose pieces that can drag in a candle or jack-o-lantern and catch fire.
- Hem your child’s costume up to avoid them getting tangled in the legs and causing your child to trip and fall.
- Choose a costume that is light colored or apply some reflector tape to your child’s costume if you’ll be out at twilight or after dark. Carrying a flashlight or glow sticks is a good idea too.
- Make sure your child’s costume also allows for easy bathroom access. The last thing you or your child wants is an accident to cut a fun night short. You may also want to schedule a bathroom break into your trick-or-treating plans.
- Make sure your child is wearing comfortable shoes to avoid tripping. If they put up a fight for not being able to wear those princess slippers, tell them be able to get more candy because they’ll be able to walk longer.
- Substitute any props such as swords or pointed daggers with ones made of softer material or without dangerous sharp edges or points. Avoid using fake guns as they can be mistaken for the real thing.
- Paint your child’s face with nontoxic face paint instead of wearing a mask, which can make it hard for him or her to breathe and see.
Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips
- Never let your child trick-or-treat alone. Younger children should always be accompanied by an adult.
- Trick-or-treat only in familiar areas or neighborhoods.
- Take the route with the fewest street crossings, and lowest traffic volume.
- Use the outing to reinforce looking both ways before crossing the street to look for oncoming cars.
- Write emergency identification information (name, address, phone number) inside your child’s costume or on a light-colored wristband.
- Make sure your child’s costume is climate-appropriate. If it’s already chilly at night in your area and your child’s costume is lightweight, make sure he or she can fit warm clothing underneath the costume. Or, if it’s still balmy and warm, make sure your child won’t be too warm in his or her costume.
- Teach your little one to only trick-or-treat at homes with the front light on.
- Make sure your little one is walking on the sidewalk only. It’s easy for tiny feet to trip on things in the dark.
Halloween Decorating Safety Tips
- Keep candles and lit jack-o-lanterns out of your child’s reach. If you are setting out jack-o-lanterns, use pumpkin lights instead of a real candle. These tiny lights flicker to mimic a real flame.
- As much as your child may want to help you carve the pumpkin, the sharp knives and even the special pumpkin-carving tools can injure tiny hands. Let him or her scoop out the seeds or decorate the pumpkin with stickers or paint instead. If they really want to make a lit pumpkin, give them a Sharpie and tell them to draw the face you will cut out for them.
Other Misc. Halloween Safety Tips
- Inspect your child’s candy for suspicious pieces, evidence of tampering, razors or pins, or candy that could pose a choking hazard. Don’t eat any homemade treats, unless you know and trust the person who made them.
- Keep your pets secure in the house when trick-or-treating time starts. The commotion and bustle of the night can spook and make even the friendliest of animals act aggressively.