Halloween Safety Tips for You and Your Family

This is by NOT a complete list of safety tips, but they are the issues that seem to come up year after year with my own children. Good luck and stay safe!

Halloween Costumes:

Check the material on your child’s costume. Is it fire proof? Review the “stop-drop-and roll” procedure in case of a fire. Does it contain any dye or other material that might become irritating if it gets wet? Is your child wearing something that will glow in the lights of an approaching car? Reflective tape is always a good idea. Don’t count on something that your child is carrying. It may get lost.

Is there a prop or attachment to the costume that might be unsafe? Exchange all weapon style props with something that cannot used to harm another person. Are all of the buttons and pins sewed on so they will not stab your child of they become loose? Have you spoken to your child about safely carrying and using the props? Remember to appropriately supervise your child in his or her costume. Most safety warnings go out the window once the excitement begins.

Does your child have a clear range of vision while wearing the costume?  If there is a mask, can your child breathe comfortably once the mask is in place? Make-up can be a great alternative to the mask that comes with the costume. Is the outfit too big? Could it be a tripping hazard?

Sew or tape your phone number and identification into the costume of a young child. Alternatively, use a sharpie pen to write your phone number on a plastic bracelet or watch.

Trick or Treating Safely with Younger Children:

Immediately before the fun begins go over basic safety rules. Look both ways before crossing the street, stay in sight, etc.

Carry an extra bag so that your child is not forced to lug around a sack or container that is too heavy.

Carry a flashlight. Put a small flashlight in the bottom of the trick or treat bag to serve as just one more way that a car could see your child. Glow rings or glow sticks are interesting to kids, and they make it easier to keep track of them.

Talk about consequences for arguing with you, siblings, or other group members. Constant  arguments over which street to go to next can take all the fun out of the evening.

Only allow your child to eat candy that you have inspected.

Safety Issues for Older Children:

Although all of the same rules apply, things get much more complicated once your child is in the upper primary or junior high school grades!

Have you discussed local safety issues with your child? Are there parts of your neighborhood that you would like your child to avoid while out trick or treating with friends?

Will there be adult supervision of the group that your child is trick or treating with? Double check with the adults who purportedly will be there to avoid any misunderstandings.

Do you have a set curfew with your child?

Caution your child about engaging in goblin-like behavior. Older children should definitely not have any weapon-like props or props that could be used to harm others. Discuss some of the bad behavior that might have occurred in your community last year, and how you expect them to behavior this year. Talk about specific consequences for destructive behavior.

What do you expect your child to do if he or she is separated from the trick or treating group? This is a great opportunity to caution against going with a stranger, into a stranger’s home, or switching to a group that has adults with whom your child is unfamiliar.

Does your child have a cell phone or other way that you can be contacted in an emergency? Make a safety plan for contact just in case.

Although you may plan to inspect the candy that is collected, talk to your child about how to inspect the candy as it is collected. Specifically, talk about tell tale signs that something has been tampered with. Tell your child to avoid eating anything homemade if he or she does not know the cook personally.

Stay safe this Halloween!

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