As the leaves begin to fall and the dew is on the grass in the crisp mornings, we are signaled that it is the beginning of fall and the beginning of the holiday season. The first holiday on the list is Halloween and it can be so much fun! Unfortunately it can also be a little dangerous (but can’t anything?), so I’ve compiled a few ways you can help to make the annual trick-or-treating less dangerous for you, your kiddos, and everyone else as well.
1. Safe Neighborhoods
If you are going trick-or-treating this Halloween, then it is time to do your research! Look up what night your city or town has designated for trick-or-treating and look up the crime rates in the area you plan to go to. You can do this at crimereports.com. Make sure you know of any houses with sex offenders in them so you can avoid them. Only go to homes with the front porch light on, never go inside, and watch for anything that seems suspicious. Also, don’t force children to go up to houses with decorations that scare them. If you don’t consider your neighborhood safe, or you don’t live in a neighborhood, you can always go to Haunt the Zoo, Trick-or-Treat at the local malls, attend one of many local churches who host festivals or trunk-or-treating in their parking lots, or join a friend who lives in a safer neighborhood and make it a group activity!
2. Safety in Numbers
Speaking of making it a group activity, it’s not only more fun but also safer – especially if you have multiple young kids. The more adults to keep an eye on the excited (and possibly slightly frightened) tots the better, especially near roads and driveways. Also, always make sure you go up to each door with your children. To eliminate any possibility of something that could harm them, it is best to be nearby at all times.
3. Road Safety
Pedestrian/Motor Vehicle accidents are the #1 danger on Halloween night. With so many people out celebrating- on foot and in cars- this inevitably creates a recipe for disaster. If you are going from house to house, be aware of cars pulling in and out of driveways and driving through the neighborhood. Do not walk down the middle of the street, cross at pedestrian crossings, and hold small children’s hands at all times. If you plan on going out after dark, be sure that everyone in your group has something reflective on their clothing so you can be seen. If you are the one driving near houses or populated areas, drive slowly and be alert.
4. Stop, Drop, and Roll
The second biggest cause of injury on Halloween is Fire Related Injury. Make sure costumes are flame retardant and are not billowy or hard to maneuver. Keep children away from jack-o-lanterns lit with candles and consider using LED tea lights instead of candles (safer and has a longer lasting effect!) for decorations.
5. Costume Safety
Costumes can pose other problems besides fire danger. Make sure children can see well out of their masks so they can see any oncoming traffic or any obstacles they may trip on. Be sure the costumes fit well and won’t drag under feet, cause blisters, or irritate skin in any way. Put your name, address, and phone number inside your child’s costume in case you become separated. Also, make sure that if you are going to drive somewhere, your child’s costume is car-seat compliant. Sure, your infant looks adorable in that little mermaid tail – but it might better to just put it on when you reach your destination.
6. Candy Safety
Have a talk with your children before you leave that they are not to eat any of their candy until you have looked at it at home. Having this talk before the night begins can help you avoid possible tantrums or misunderstandings. Inspect the candy for any tampering such as prior opening or pin-like holes in the packaging, but also ensure that if your child has any allergies he or she does not accidentally eat a candy or snack that contains those ingredients.
Be prepared, be aware, don’t rush. We want everyone safe and having fun on this whimsical holiday, and nothing spoils fun like a trip to the emergency room!