For as celebrated and enjoyed as Halloween can be, this favorite holiday can bring its own set of serious parental concerns and considerations as far as safety. While it may be tempting to release all inhibition, and succumb fully to the festive atmosphere surrounding Halloween, your children may be at particular risk as the events on and throughout Halloween day unfold.
From important costume considerations and additions, to thorough candy examinations, on Halloween safety risks can come in all forms and can be mitigated really quite easily. Follow the steps in this Info Barrel article in order to best keep your child (or children) safe on Halloween. When they return from a fun filled night of trick-or-treating your children may not directly thank you for the proactive measures you took to ensure their safety, however, the greatest indicator of the effectiveness of your Halloween safety interventions will be seen in their safe return and subsequent devouring of their candy.
Things You Will NeedBright Costume
Step 1Because your child's costume itself may be at the foremost of your consideration with the earliest purchase of all your Halloween goods, ensuring that your child's costume minimizes risk and maximizes safety is absolutely crucial. Where dimly lit streets, and drivers with potentially impaired judgment, may substantially increase your child's risk, it is important that early costume selection lends itself to visually bright costumes.
While Darth Vader, Ninjas, and Batman may be popular costume choices, drivers can have difficulty seeing these costumes while your child is walking in the late evening and dark of night. If your child absolutely insists on wearing a dark costume, be sure that bright and reflective elements are added to it. Glow sticks, and even a U.S. Army Physical Training reflective belt can be purchased online and have been proven to be very effective. (NOTE: Additional bright and reflective objects should be used even if your child is wearing a bright costume.)
Step 2Trips and falls can be particularly common while your child is trick-or-treating on Halloween. In order to effectively mitigate this safety risk, it is important for children to stay away from picking excessively long costumes, like princess costumes or those with long capes, because their legs may become quickly entangled in them. This safety concern can be specifically amplified when all their surroundings are naturally darker at night anyways.
The natural ambiance of Halloween, in general, oftentimes elicits decorations that incorporate fire and flames. Whether you have candles set up inside your house while preparing for an upcoming Halloween bash, or you have candles outside, be sure that the costume you and your child pick is also labeled and specified to be flame resistant. Without even knowing, excess material that may dangle from your child's arms or legs may inadvertently and unintentionally find its way flirting with fire. Mitigate this risk by ensuring that your child's Halloween costume is also fire proof.
Step 3While not specifically related to the late evening event of trick-or-treating, Halloween wouldn't be quite the same for children without being included in a pumpkin carving. Dependent upon your child's age, you may want to consider having him or her refrain from actually carving the pumpkin altogether. Because of the sharpness of a carving knife, along with the required precision in carving, pumpkin's may also offer difficult patches of skin that may be very difficult for a child to navigate safely when carving. Viable and safe alternatives to carving, for children, would be to simply watch or help by applying the permanent Sharpie marker outline of the carving to the pumpkin. If your child insists on being involved in the actual carving process, be sure that you grip their hand firmly and guide them through the carving.
Step 4Sending your child (or children) out trick-or-treating, on an empty stomach, could be a surefire recipe for disaster. While it may make sense for your children to be hungry enough to enjoy all the candy they have been the proud recipients of, allowing them to leave your house hungry may mean that they will resort to eating the candy they have obtained before you have been given the opportunity to properly inspect it. Prior to allowing your children to trick-or-treat, you should be sure to emphasize that no candy will be eaten until they arrive back home. Instead of just telling them not to eat their candy, also be sure to explain to them why you feel that it is important, for their safety, to inspect their candy prior to consumption.
Step 5Regardless of their age, children should never been allowed to trick-or-treat alone. On a night where some of society's most questionable and crazy individuals can emerge from the darkness anywhere, children shouldn't even be allowed to trick-or-treat in groups with other children (if unaccompanied). Before sending you child out to trick-or-treat, be sure that they are properly supervised by someone you trust. For the 30 minutes to an hour that a trick-or-treating adventure may last, the best thing to do would be to actually accompany your child/children yourself, if you can.
Step 6If you are not able to personally escort your child, it is absolutely imperative that you ensure that the adult who is supervising your child is very trustworthy and responsible. When leaving with your child, ensure that whoever is supervising them takes a head count before leaving, and upon returning. In the darkness, it can be very difficult to maintain control and keep track of children, especially if your trusted escort is supervising quite a few children simultaneously. If the trusted supervisor is managing many children altogether, you may want to consider an alternative, because your child's personally safety may suffer or being sacrificed if the supervisor has too many children to look after.
Step 7While you child's escort has great responsibility, you should also emphasize to your child what is safe and appropriate trick-or-treating behavior. Fights amongst children can be avoided if your child knows not to instigate or attempt to take candy from other children. On the other side of the spectrum, your child should be taught to do what he/she can do de-escalate high intensity emotional situations if they become overbearing quickly. If you are not completely aware of all the houses that your child will be stopping at to trick-or-treat, be sure that your child is well aware that they should only receive the candy (and not actually go inside a stranger's house, whether invited or not).
As you can see, Halloween can be a time of great fun, celebration and enjoyment. Unfortunately, amidst the excitement, Halloween can also be a mysterious holiday filled with a plethora of uncertainty and clear safety risks. From the costume your child wears, to your thorough examination of their candy, be sure that you and they take the above proactive measures in order to ensure their safety this Halloween.