Few holidays produce the same burst of energetic excitement as Halloween. Spooky decorations, creepy costumes and visions of candy spur kids – and often the entire family – into an evening of fun-filled frenzy. But hidden dangers can be easily overlooked in the rush to celebrate. Before Halloween fun begins, take a moment to check for safety hazards and discuss the evening’s do’s and don’ts with the kids. A little precaution can keep a fright-filled evening from becoming a real scare.
10. Fill ‘em up first: Send trick-or-treaters off with a full tummy so they won’t be as tempted to eat candy before it’s inspected.
9. Follow safe Trick-or-Treating tactics: Accompany young children at all times and send older kids out in a group with strict route guidelines and curfews – and a charged mobile phone for emergencies. And don’t forget flashlights or glow sticks for everyone, both to see and be seen.
8. Remember safety basics: Emphasize to kids that Halloween night is no different when it comes to safety. Avoid strangers and dark houses, stay on well-lighted streets on a pre-approved route, and take extra care when crossing streets.
7. Decorate with the littlest ghouls in mind: Make yard decorations safer for all. Secure electrical cords and strings out of reach, use glow sticks as light sources instead of candles, and make walkways clear and accessible. If creating a particularly scary haunted yard, consider including a less-scary area for younger trick-or-treaters.
6. Costume for comfort and safety: Dress kids in costumes that are temperature-appropriate, allow free range of vision and movement, and are easily seen in the dark. Accessories from swords and knives to fairy wands should be safely blunted and flexible to prevent injury.
5. Carve a safer Jack o’Lantern: Let little ones scoop the insides of the pumpkin and draw the face – always the best designs – but leave the carving to adults or older kids. Create a safer spooky light using glow sticks in two or three colors instead of candles.
4. Check all candy before eating: Inspect candy before allowing kids to eat. Discard candy with broken wrappers, that can be opened and resealed, or appears tampered with in any way. When handing out candy, include toddler-friendly goodies like lollipops, single-serving cookies or animal crackers in the candy bowl.
3. Keep pets inside all night: It’s safer and less stressful for pets, pet owners and visitors.
2. Prepare for unexpected scares: Assemble a portable first aid kit to treat minor scrapes, burns and cuts, and include medications for asthma or allergies.
1. Have a get-home plan: Whether trick-or-treating, attending a party, or stopping by the neighborhood carnival, have a plan that works for everyone in case of separation. Identify a location to go if separated from the group, and attach parents’ names, address and phone numbers to younger kids’ clothing.