While the spooky aspects of Halloween are thrilling for most adults, the focus on all things dark and dastardly can dampen some of the revelry for kids. Whether you're handing out candy at home, or taking your little pumpkins out to trick-or-treat, make sure they stay safe and comfortable. Keep this list of Halloween safety tips for kids in mind to make your celebrations more joyful and a little less scary! From costume safety to scheduled check-ins, you can give your kids that delicious holiday freedom they deserve, without losing your gourd.
Halloween Safety Tips for Families
Even young kids can learn tips to make Halloween celebrations safe; and you can go over these easy rules with them as soon as that classic autumn chill takes hold in the air.
Wear Comfortable & Safe Costumes
Ideally, a child's costume should be flame retardant and fit them well. A good-fitting costume shouldn't hinder their mobility in any way, as they'll be walking around collecting candy. If your kid's costume is comprised of dark colors, attach some reflective patches to their candy collection bag or the back of their costume. It's also very important to ensure that costumes and masks don't impair your child's vision, which would be a safety hazard. Additionally, make sure that kids are only using plastic/foam accessories (swords, wands, lightsabers), so they don't accidentally hurt anyone. It's best to leave any weapon-like costume accessories at home anyway, because you'll be the one who ends up carrying them, and they may cause alarm if mistaken for a real weapon in the dark.
Have Good Lighting
If you're planning on giving out candy, keep your house well-lit so kids know you're home, and that your house is open for business. Keep lights on outside, and turn on at least one light inside, so visitors don't have to wonder if you're doling out sweets. Additionally, make sure your kids know to only go to homes where the lights are on. If they feel uncomfortable with a certain house because of poor lighting, or out of fear that something doesn't feel right, they should trust their instincts and pass that particular home. Many kids carry flashlights when they go out on Halloween night as well. This is a good way to give them some added security and clarity regarding their surroundings.
Pre-Plan Your Routes
If your children are able to trick or treat without adult supervision, review a planned route they are allowed to take. Make sure they know how to walk home from the end of the route, once they're finished going door to door. If they have to cross a street, ensure they feel comfortable and confident doing so. Most children will have a cell phone with them, but it's never a bad idea to go over your home number with your children so that they memorize it in case they can't get to their phone. If they aren't sure, write your phone number on a slip of paper to put in one of their pockets. Yet, keeping to the sides of the streets and sticking with their group along the planned route should keep everyone safe.
Trick-or-Treat in Groups
Honestly, the safest way to go trick-or-treating is in groups; and a young child should never be allowed to venture out on their own in the dark. Check in with the children that your kids are going out with on Halloween night if you're not going out with them. Verify that they're not going to encourage your kids to engage in any dangerous mischief. Also, remind your kids not to approach strangers, and that if a car slows down, and the driver tries to speak to them or asks them to get inside, make sure they know to hightail it out of there. The best way to give all of this info to kids on Halloween night is to have them all meet up at one house at the start of the route. Remind them of the vital info as a group before they venture out, so it's fresh in their mind. Consider meeting the group at a house at the end of the route, where each parent can escort their kid home safely.
Check the Treats
To avoid overladen pockets and whining complaints, make sure your kids have sizable and easy to tote containers to house their candy. A pillowcase is an inexpensive bag that can easily be opened for neighbors to place candy in. It's easy to carry, too. Once your kids have acquired all of their candy and you get home, you should dump the contents of the treat bag or pillowcase on the counter and sort through the candy. Make sure that every piece in the loot is wrapped and looks like it hasn't been tampered with. When in doubt, toss it out.
Food Allergies Don't Have to Ruin the Fun
If you have children with severe food allergies, help keep them safe and feeling like part of the festivities by dropping off letters explaining the situation in envelopes with candy in them. Give this candy and info to people in your neighborhood who will be happy to hand the sweets to your child when they arrive at their door. After all, no kid should ever feel left out of the joy of trick-or-treating.
Establish a Communication Schedule
Talk with the kids in your charge about when you expect them to contact you on their adventures. Regularly checking in with you is a great way to make sure they're safe without having to micromanage their fun. It's as simple as establishing a few time stamps throughout the night of when you should hear from them. In the worst-case scenario, this also gives you a first place to start looking for them should they get in over their heads with their Halloween festivities.
Research Events in the Area
It's a common practice for people in the community to host Halloween parties, haunted houses, and hayrides. However, if you're not personally familiar with these events, make sure that you research them ahead of time. Verify that these events are in a safe environment and that there won't be any unpleasant or scary surprises involved. This is especially important for younger children who don't like the spookier parts of Halloween events.
Halloween Without All the Mischief
You don't have to compromise on safety to have a wonderful Halloween night. Plan ahead with the above tips to make sure there are no tricks, only treats once October 31st arrives.