Halloween can be one of the silliest and most fun celebrations of the year (it's my favorite). Halloween safety is about making sure kids are safe in their costumes, on the street, and around strangers. Halloween safety is also about making sure Mom and Dad have a fun and safe night. Follow these safety tips to make sure your trick-or-treaters enjoy their candy safely at home.
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Time Required: Depends on the neighborhood
- Stay visible Most of the fun on Halloween happens after dark (what fun would daytime Halloween be?). Make sure kids and adults are visible to cars at night. Wear brightly-colored costumes with reflective stripes sewn on.
- Carry flashlights so kids can see and cars can see them. The more light each little goblin carries, the more visible they are to drivers.
- Make sure costumes fit well. Kids in ill-fitting costumes are more likely to trip and fall. The worst time for a child to trip would be in the middle of the street as they are trying to cross. Also, to help kids see, try face paint or make-up instead of masks.
- Always cross on a corner. Gather the ghouls together in a group and hold hands while crossing the street. It's easier for drivers to see groups than single kids.
- Only allow appropriate shoes. Oversized clown shoes or adult high-heels are hard for little feet to negotiate and can be dangerous.
- Use fire smarts. Opt for costumes made of flame-resistant material. As Halloween and candles go hand-in-hand, make sure that candles used in home decorations are far from little trick-or-treaters. Be prepared for a mishap, know how to treat a burn.
- Don't let little ones try to carve their own pumpkins. Carving the Halloween gourd is Mom or Dad's job. The little ones can help make the design. Kids can also clean out the ooey-gooey middle of the pumpkin. Or, skip the cutting all together and paint the outside of a whole pumpkin.
- Be sure any costume props are flexible and not sharp. Mini swashbucklers like to have swordfights; it's better if the swords don't actually puncture Tinkerbell. Also, if the little devil falls while running, he won't get impaled by his pitchfork.
- Just because it is Halloween doesn't mean the kids shouldn't follow the same basic rules as every other day. Rules on crossing the street and going with strangers can be forgotten during the commotion of trick-or-treating; review the rules with the kids. Each group of kids should be supervised and each chaperone should keep a list of what each trick-or-treater is wearing.
- Inspect the bag of goodies before letting the kids dig in. Make sure wrappers are on candy and have not been opened. Examine and wash any fruit before eating it.
- Despite calling it trick-or-treat, tricks are usually vandalism, and vandalism leads to violence. Make sure your kids do not participate in any type of tricking.
- Make sure each group has a cell phone in case they need to call 911. Understand how to call 911 from a cell phone.
- Don't overestimate junior's ability to negotiate traffic hazards or judge oncoming cars - especially after dark.
- Emergency response is about managing chaos -- so is chaperoning trick-or-treaters! On an emergency scene, we like to keep each boss in charge of no more than six others, and that's a good rule of thumb for Halloween. Try to have at least one adult for every six kids in the group.