Important Guidelines for Keeping Halloween Safe and Fun for Everyone
It’s right around the corner, the holiday we wait for every year for tricks, treats and creepy fun – Halloween! As you begin to prepare for the big day – and night – thinking about costumes, parties and the inevitable hunt for candy, it is important to consider the following safety tips to ensure everyone, from the Wicked Witch of the West to Batman, come home safe, sound and ready to dig in to one more piece of chocolate!
- Reflective Clothing
By wearing reflective clothing and/or adding reflective tape to your child’s clothing, you make it possible for motorists and other pedestrians to clearly see your child, who will most likely be on foot. This is especially important as kids are crossing streets or when sidewalks are unavailable and kids need to walk in the street. Without reflective tape, dark costumes will blend into the night sky, leaving your child vulnerable. So, avoid unnecessary accidents and let your child’s costume really shine!
Kids and adults should carry flashlights while trick-or-treating. Families often underestimate the time spent outside on Halloween, and dusk quickly turns to dark in the blink of a pillowcase full of candy! Having a flashlight along can make finding your way home much more illuminating, and can help identify everyday objects (a garden hose, a dog, a bale of hay) that might otherwise appear to be ominous threats on this particularly scary night!
- Open Flames
Be careful and keep an eye out for candles and open flames. Pumpkins will be lit, and many Halloween decorations include fire. This can be especially problematic with costumes, many of which are not flame retardant and are made of highly flammable materials such as polyester. Also, costume accessories, such as wigs, capes and snack bags can easily catch on an open flame and cause permanent injury. For homeowners and party hosts, artificial lights and candles might be a better, safer choice when kids are involved. It is difficult for youngsters, who might not be used to or familiar with costumes, to navigate around an open flame. So, keep an eye on those great balls of fire. You want your kids to be the life of the party, not the light of the party.
- Mindful of Masks
Masks can obstruct a child’s view, causing confusion and accidents. If you must use a mask for a costume, be sure it fits property and your child is able to see well and clearly. In addition to obstructing a child’s view, masks can also cause difficulty breathing, which may mean children need to take the mask on and off. If you can avoid a mask, using make-up and face paint works well without causing the problems of an ill-fitted mask. Using costumes without masks or using face paint can eliminate a whole host of problems and irritations, for everyone.
- It’s All About The Fit
A costume should fit properly to avoid several problems. Ill-fitted costumes, particularly near the feet, can cause children to trip and stumble. This is especially dangerous as kids cross streets, when they might be tempted to hurry anyway. In addition, as mentioned above, costumes that are too big or difficult to navigate can be potential fire hazards around open flames. Be sure your child’s entire costume fits, from wigs to hats to capes and especially near the feet. In fact, it might be a good idea to simply bind the ankles of your child’s costume with reflecting tape. This will keep the costume from bunching near the feet and ankles, avoiding tripping and stumbling, and it also serves to alert oncoming traffic to your child’s presence.
- Date Night for the Entire Family
While it’s tempting to send our kids trick-or-treating out alone, particularly older kids, it’s a great idea for parents to join our kids on the nightly quest for tricks and treats. Parents can join in the fun with kids as well as ensure the safety of the entire family. When dealing with smaller children, having parental supervision is a must. When spending time with older kids, you might just want to be available, in the area, while your kids are out and about. You don’t necessarily need to go door-to-door with your kids. You might join a group of other parents and trail your youngsters a bit, enjoying a cup of cider and some adult conversation of your own. Even if you are not right front and center with the kids, you are there in case of emergency and to help out if anyone loses his way. Rather than sitting at home waiting by the phone, joining your kids and the other families in the neighborhood ensures a good time to be had by all – ghosts and goblins included.
- Keep it Clean
Porches and walkways, that is. Halloween is, by the nature of the beast, a dark night. Often times, porches and walkways are lit with the glow of a pumpkin rather than a flooded porch light. This means that common porch and garden objects become a bit more hazardous. Garden hoses, planters, benches and decorations can often be hidden in all of the darkness and commotion. Try to remove unnecessary objects from these common areas so that trick-or-treaters don’t have to navigate messy or cluttered space to get to your front door. In addition, keeping paths well lit is important. You can do this in a festive way, using Halloween lights and lanterns, but do be sure that everyone can see his or her way to the doorbell and proverbial candy bucket.
- Animal Instincts
Being watchful and mindful of neighboring animals and/or pets is very important for Halloween. With all of the commotion and excitement of the night, animals can become jumpy and/or excited themselves. Kids, often times small children, are often frightened of the family dog or cat, and tricks meant to be harmful and fun can turn scary for everyone, especially the next-door-neighbor’s dog. So, it might be a good idea to keep pets indoors. It will save both the animals and your little neighborhood friends any unsuspecting fright. Parents, also be sure to take care with little ones and outdoor pets. While it might seem like a good idea to let little Johnny pet the neighbor’s dog, on a night like Halloween, it might be best to skip the hellos and move right on to the candy!
With a few precautions and some minor adjustments to the normal routine, everyone in the family can enjoy the fun and festivities of Halloween. Being careful and paying attention to safety will ensure everybody comes home safe, sound and with loads of treats!
For more information on Halloween safety, visit the following websites: