Halloween is the second most popular holiday of the year. Even though it’s a time to celebrate spooky things and to get scared you don’t want to have to be scared for the safety of your kids when they are out Trick or Treating or at holiday parties. In the past Trick or Treating was always done on Halloween night in individual neighborhoods. These days a lot of communities are organizing alternate events that are held on the weekend before Halloween at shopping malls, parks and even in parking lots. These types of events give the illusion of safety but they can still be dangerous. If you take some basic precautions and use these safety tips you will be able to enjoy the scariest time of the year without having to be afraid for your children.
Costume Safety for Kids
Keeping your child safe on Halloween starts with making sure the costume that he or she wears is safe. When you are choosing a costume for a child remember that you have to think about factors like the weather, the amount of time the child will be wearing the costume, and if the child can move freely in the costume. Here are some other ways to make sure that your child’s costume is safe:
- Make sure your child can see out of any masks or special effects appliances – this may seem obvious but thousands of parents every year don’t bother to check how well their child can see with a Halloween mask or special effects appliance on. Check out your child’s peripheral vision too in order to be sure that your child can see cars or people coming up beside them. Don’t be afraid to cut the eye holes in a mask to make them fit your child’s face.
- Make sure the footwear fits well and is comfortable – Most people don’t think too much about the shoes that a child wears with a costume. But unless you want to carry your child home when his or her feet start hurting the footwear that is part of the costume matters. You child should be able to stand, walk, and run in the footwear that goes with the costume. It’s a smart idea to keep a pair of comfy shoes in a backpack so your child can switch footwear if necessary.
- Make sure that the costume is visible – Some costumes, like ninja costumes, can be very difficult for drivers to see at night, especially on children. If your child wants to wear a dark costume but you want to be sure that the child is visible there are many ways to make the costume more reflective without ruining it. You can add neon green or neon pink reflective tape to any costume easily. You can also sew in strips of LED lights to the costume. Hairpieces, ponytail holders, bracelets and even shoelaces made with glow sticks or LED lights also help keep kids visible.
Child Safety Tips for Trick or Treating
If you are taking your child out Trick or Treating in your neighborhood on Halloween there are several things that you can do to make your child safer. Remember that you should always stay with your child when you are walking through the neighborhood. You should also:
- Set ground rules before you go out – Your child is going to be too excited to pay much attention to you while getting into costume. So sit down with your child before starting to dress up and set some ground rules for Trick or Treating. Good ground rules to have are rules about how far away from you your child can go, not eating any candy before it is checked by an adult, not crossing streets alone and not running off with friends without permission.
- Don’t let your child approach a house alone – Even though you may know your neighbors it’s still not a good idea to let your child go into a home. Haunted houses should be set up in yards or garages and not inside the houses so there is no reason for your child to ever go into a neighbor’s home unless you are close friends with that person. You should go with your child to each door on the Trick or Treat route.
- Walk the Trick or Treat route before Halloween – When kids get excited they can easily lose track of where they are. Even familiar landmarks can seem unrecognizable, especially in the dark. A few days before Halloween take your child out for a walk and show him or her the route that you plan on walking during Trick or Treating. You can even leave marks in colored chalk or leave pieces of colored electrical tape on fences and poles to mark the way. That way your child will know the route that you will be taking and will know where to go if you get separated.
- Talk to your child about what to do if someone tries to grab him or her– If you don’t talk to your child about what he or she should do if a stranger tries to grab them they may just freeze in fear. Show your child how to yell to get someone’s attention if they need help. Show them how to use a safety whistle or other tools and let them practice using those tools until they are comfortable with them. Hopefully he or she will never need to know how to react in a dangerous situation. But the more comfortable they are creating a scene the better the chances are that they would be able to get away.
Trick or Treating with your child can be the kind of experience that your child will remember for a lifetime. If you follow some basic safety precautions like these you can ensure that going Trick or Treating with you is one of your child’s fondest memories.