Halloween is an exciting time for children as they get to dress up as some of their heroes and run around their neighbourhood with some of their friends and family collecting treats to satisfy their sweet tooth. However, with all the excitement compounded with excess sugar intake, it is easy for an accident to happen. As we mentioned in our previous blog about Halloween Costume Safety, children on Halloween night are twice as likely be struck by a car than on any other night.1 Halloween can actually be a dangerous night, so take all the precautions that you can so that no one gets hurt and so that everyone has fun.
Travel with others
Children under the age of ten should not be trick-or-treating alone. A recent blog of ours, How to Stay Safe with Children Going Back to School, covers the topic of when children are typically seen as responsible enough to stay home alone. The consensus is typically the same for what age children should be able to go out trick-or-treating without an adult. If your child is over the age of 10 and wishes to go out with their friends suggest one of the parents accompanies them or at the very least to go out in a group and to stay together.
If children will be going without you it is a good idea to provide them with a phone or walkie-talkies. That way you can keep in touch with them if you need to and have them check in. If they are using a cellphone, you can use the FindFriends app to keep track of them remotely. Make sure to remind your children that they should never use those devices while crossing the street as they need to be vigilant for drivers that might not stop.
It is also good to suggest a curfew as after a certain time most trick-or-treaters go home and mischief is about.
Plan out the route
Children that are going out to trick-or-treat on their own should have a pre-planned route that they will follow. This is helpful so that you have an idea of where they are at what times. In the horrific scenario that your child was to go missing you would then have an idea of where they were. It’s a best-practice that children don’t go into neighbourhoods in which they are not familiar. Being unfamiliar with their surroundings can cause them to become lost but they could also easily end up in a neighbourhood or a house that is unsafe. It is typically best to stick to houses and streets that they know.
It is also important to remind children that they should never enter the house of someone they don’t know. If they are entering someone’s house then they should be communicating this to you so that you can expect a delay and just keep tabs on them.
Avoid tripping hazards
When making costumes make sure that the costume itself isn’t a tripping hazard. Costumes shouldn’t hinder foot or arm movement, which means they shouldn’t be too long and shouldn’t have things dragging on the ground. Any canes, swords, or other props should be flexible in case someone was to fall in order to lessen their injuries. Make sure that shoes fit. Masks should be avoided as they block vision so children will be less likely to see curbs or steps and have trouble seeing oncoming traffic.
Make sure the candy is safe
Like the old adage says, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will fish for a lifetime” the same is true that if you teach your children to identify candy or products that have been tampered with then they will not eat those candies regardless of your supervision. Before going through the pile of candy show your kids what tampered candy might look like and have them help you go through the pile. If you can, tell them that you will replace anything that has to be removed so that they don’t see this as a punishment.
Look for wrappers that are loose or broken. Search for holes and cuts that could cause contamination. Things like fruit should be discarded as you can’t tell if they have been tampered with. Even washing fruit can’t guarantee that they would be safe to eat.
Do a trunk-or-treat
Arrange with a group of your friends or neighbours to have a trunk-or-treat. Some people will gather in a parking lot and let the kids go around to different cars and trick-or-treat that way. This way, you can trick-or-treat with friends and you can trust the candy better.
Some people also opt to throw Halloween parties where kids can go around to different people or booths with games to win candy. A piñata could be included to provide kids with even more candy.
By implementing some of these safety practices you and your family will have a much safer Halloween!
1”Is Your Kid’s Halloween Costume Safe?” ABC News. Oct 21. Web.