It’s officially spooky season. The time of year that is often thought of as the unofficial start to the holiday season. From pumpkin carving and hair-raising home decor to scary costumes and sweet treats, there is much fun to be had leading up to and on Halloween night. Whether your little one goes trick-or-treating or you spend your night at a creepy Halloween party with your favorite ghouls and goblins, safety should remain a top priority for your entire family.
Calculating the risks and planning ahead for a safe and fun-filled event doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. As parents ourselves, we understand the importance of keeping our children safe while also allowing them the freedom to be their (scariest!) selves making memories that last a lifetime. From costume and candy safety to trick-or-treating precautions and Halloween decoration guidelines, keeping your children safe during this ghoulish holiday is essential.
When it comes to picking the perfect costume for children, it’s all about creativity and fun. Whether they opt for their favorite book character, food item, or scary creature, Halloween is a time for them to express themselves in a fun and unique way. Although big-box stores have made it relatively seamless for us to find the costume of their dreams, there are some precautions you should take to ensure their costumes are safe and appropriate for their age and size.
Tripping and falling are among the top ways children get injured on Halloween due to loose-fitting costumes that often hang too close to their feet. Avoid this issue by ensuring the costume is appropriately sized to your child’s height. If you cannot find one in their size, you can opt for a larger option and trim the end of it to land above their shoes to avoid injury.
Halloween costumes are required by law to be fire-resistant. When purchasing your child’s costume, make sure that it is labeled fire-resistant, but be aware that these costumes can still catch on fire if they are too close to a fire source such as a bonfire, jack-o-lantern, or fire pit. If creating your costume at home, be mindful of the materials you use and the effect they could have if they came in contact with a fire source. Speak to your child about the importance of fire safety before venturing out through your neighborhood.
Masks reduce visibility for anyone who wears them. If your child’s costume comes complete with a face mask to finish the look of their character, consider switching it out with a face paint alternative. Masks can lead to tripping, falling, and other serious injuries due to sight reduction. If your child insists on wearing a mask, go over the safety precautions with them properly before heading out for a night of trick-or-treating.
Who is Luke Skywalker without his lightsaber? Or a witch without her broom? Or a ninja without his sword? We understand that Halloween props can make a costume that much more exciting and realistic, but they can also be quite dangerous to carry around. Pointy or sharp-looking props can cause a real hazard by accidentally poking your child or others in the eye or other part of the body. Instead of selecting the standard prop, consider switching to a softer version or nixing it from the costume altogether.
Although we love the idea of swapping out a mask for face paint, be cautious about what face paint you choose. Before covering your child’s face in a spooky painted disguise, test a small amount of face paint on their skin a day or two before to ensure they are not allergic to the paint’s ingredients. Then, if they experience symptoms such as swelling, redness, skin irritation or rash, avoid applying it to their face for the big day.
You know how the old saying goes, “trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.” If only it were that simple, minus the whole “smell my feet'' part. These days, trick-or-treating is an exciting, albeit precarious, holiday for children. Halloween is often considered a holiday that parents must be more cautious of due to the increased risk posed by trick-or-treating throughout neighborhood streets in the dark. Taking extra precautions to avoid unnecessary risks, like car accidents or safety hazards, will help keep you and your family safe throughout the night.
Here are some essential rules when it comes to trick-or-treating after dusk:
- An adult or older sibling should accompany young children
- Only visit houses that have lights on
- Walk, don’t run
- Look both ways when crossing the street
- Stick to well-lit streets and sidewalks if possible
- Carry a flashlight to light your path
- Walk on sidewalks to the far edge of the road facing traffic.
- Choose bright costumes, and have children carry glow sticks, so they are easily visible in the dark.
- If the street has a stoplight, wait until the crosswalk light tells you it is okay to cross.
- Make sure your children know your phone number and address ahead of time if you accidentally separate from one another.
Halloween is by far one of the most loved holidays by children. Although the costumes and time with family and friends are wonderful, there is one big thing that they love the most, a 5-letter word that often equates to happiness in their mind: C-A-N-D-Y.
Did you know that the average candy count is around 100 pieces? From delicious chocolate treats to eyebrow-raising sour snacks, scoring a bucket (or pillowcase) full of candy on Halloween is a child’s version of winning the lottery. Although we’d love to think everyone who participates in handing out candy on Halloween has wholesome intentions, it simply isn’t true, so we have to be mindful of the candy our children receive and thoroughly check it before consumption.
Here are our top safety tips to stay on top of your child’s candy this year:
- Monitor hand washing before consuming any treats
- Discard candy with torn or damaged wrappers
- Throw away unpackaged or homemade treats such as popcorn, caramel apples, or cookies
- Avoid snacking while trick-or-treating. Ensure your child waits until they arrive home before consuming any candy.
- If your child has food allergies, check the labels of all candy before consumption to ensure it does not contain ingredients that are harmful to their bodies.
- Toss out anything that could cause a choking hazard to young children, such as hard candy, gum, peanut or, even small toys.
- Control consumption amounts to make sure your child isn’t taking in too many calories or sugary treats in one day. An overabundance in consumption can lead to stomach upset, dental decay, or other health issues.
If your child loves the idea of dressing up and circulating the neighborhood with their friends and family, but you’re not a huge fan of keeping a sack full of candy on hand for what may feel like days on end of sugar consumption, there are other options you may want to consider.
An excellent choice for younger kids or those who cannot consume candy is the surprise arrival of the Switch Witch. This tale includes a fun picture book and a plush witch in a cauldron that tells the story of a good witch who works her magic to replace all the candy your child collected with a surprise toy. The best part? Their hard work of scooping up a bucket full of candy doesn’t go unnoticed; instead, it allows them to keep a few of their favorite sweet treats while giving up the rest to their good witch friend.
Another admirable option is to consider donating a portion of their candy earnings to troops deployed overseas. With various programs throughout the country, such as Operation Gratitude, kids can sort through their candy and send a curated stash of it to a hero who would love to receive a little piece of home in the mail.
Halloween Decoration Safety
Although, as parents, most of our focus is on making sure our children are safe, happy, and cared for as they take to the streets for their trick-or-treating adventures, we can’t forget about the importance of providing other children with safe means to trick-or-treat at our home.
Whether you love to outfit your home with the latest and greatest Halloween decorations or prefer to take a more subtle approach opting for autumn decorations versus Halloween knickknacks, there are various ways we can make sure our Halloween decorations are safe for everyone who comes to our home. From Halloween trick-or-treaters to our own family and friends, keeping them safe while decorating for the holiday is possible.
Here are our top Halloween home decoration safety tips:
- Remove tripping hazards such as flower pots and electrical wires
- Remove debris from your lawn and pathways
- Keep your home well lit inside and out
- Avoid open flames by using battery-powered lights instead of candles
- Ensure the extension cords you are using for your outdoor lighting display are for outdoor use
- Keep pets kenneled and away from visitors and trick-or-treaters
- Unplug and turn off Halloween lights and decorations when you’re not home or asleep
Driving Safety on Halloween
As one of the deadliest holidays for children, Halloween is an important day for us, as adults, to pay extra attention when we are on the road. Be alert as you travel down all streets, especially in residential neighborhoods, and eliminate distractions such as cell phones, music, eating, drinking, or grooming. Stay alert at all times and always keep your eyes on the road. Take extra precautions when entering and exiting driveways, doing so slowly and carefully.
Other helpful driving safety tips for Halloween include:
- Taking extra time to look for kids at intersections, stop signs, and crosswalks
- Driving slowly around corners and in dimly lit areas
- Talking with your teen driver about the importance of road safety if they plan to venture out. According to State Farm, “drivers ages 15-25 were involved in around one-third of fatal crashes involving child pedestrians on Halloween.”
- Report impaired drivers to the authorities immediately
Wrapping up our Halloween Safety Tips
With Halloween just a few short days away, now is the time to reflect on some essential safety tips for this candy-filled and costume-donning holiday with your children. From costume and home decor safety to driving and trick-or-treating precautions, staying alert and aware of your surroundings and environment is crucial to the safety of your entire family.
As parents who love to create memories for our children, we want you to wholeheartedly enjoy the holiday while staying as safe and healthy as possible. So, from our family here at Product of the North to yours, we wish you a Happy and safe Halloween!