Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween Safety Tips and Ideas for Safe Trick-or-Treat Fun
As you help your children plan their fantasy or scary Halloween costumes and masks, we hope these halloween safety tips will help you plan safe halloween fun for them.
Most parents worry about their children receiving candy and treats from numerous strangers as they enjoy their trick-or-treat fun, but too few give their children's halloween costumes and masks a second thought.
While asking for candy from strangers goes against every "stranger danger" lesson you've ever taught them, their costumes could also pose dangers you may not have considered.
Many of you will spend hours thinking about and either buying or creating a homemade halloween costume for your kids. They may fancy themselves as knights or pirates with swords, storm troopers with light sabers, or princesses or fairies with star-tipped magic wands.
But a few simple precautions can help ensure a safe and happy Halloween for parents and kids.
Here are a few Halloween safety tips to ensure a safe trick-or-treating experience for your family:
- Make sure your child wears light-colored clothing that's short enough not to trip them. You may also want to add some reflective tape to the costume (like our jack o'lantern above) so they can be seen more easily.
- Make sure your child can see (and breathe) out of their halloween masks, or use halloween make-up instead.
- Exercise caution with hard plastic or wooden props, like swords, daggers, light sabers, and wands. If possible, substitute foam rubber or other softer materials for these halloween props, which will be safer in case your child falls (or decides to whack another goblin). If that's not possible, or if confiscating the potentially dangerous props creates a major incident, then carry the props for your children as you walk through the neighborhood with them on their quest for goodies.
- If you purchase Halloween costumes, including wigs, capes and other props, make sure they have a flame-resistant or flame-retardant label.
- Use sidewalks wherever possible, and begin your trick-or-treating before sunset. This will be much easier since the daylight savings time change does not take place until 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 1.
- Have your child carry a flashlight or glow sticks.
- Warn your children not to take shortcuts through yards to get to the next house. There could be unknown obstacles lurking in the dark.
- Check your children's candy and goodies before they're allowed to sample or eat them. Be sure to throw away all unwrapped candy, popcorn and caramel apples or any other unpackaged goodies unless you know they came from a friend you trust.
- Go with your young children or groups of kids for trick-or-treating. Walk with friends, and stay together.
- Remind your ghouls and goblins to look both ways before crossing the street. Have someone with a flashlight walk in the front of the group, and walk on the shoulder of the road if there is no sidewalk.
- Stay in your own neighborhood or those with which you are familiar, and only visit home with porch lights on. A dark porch is a dangerous place for kids, and signals either that there's no one home, or that they're not in the Halloween spirit and don't want to be disturbed. Halloween is a much bigger celebration in some parts of the country than in others. You may have neighbors who just don't celebrate Halloween.
- Make sure your children know to stay away from candles and flames, especially when wearing their costumes. That includes staying away from jack-o-lanterns with candles or open flames. Make sure your kids know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothes catch on fire.
- Keep your own jack-o-lanterns away from doorways or landings where costumes could brush against the candle flame. Instead of candles, use glow stick or battery-powered lights for your jack-o-lanterns.
- Remove lawn decorations along walkways and make sure your driveway is well-lit for your ghoulish visitors.
Remember that while Halloween is fun for kids, it can be a nightmare for pets, who might become frightened by kids in costumes, or hurt during halloween pranks.
So here are some Halloween safety tips for pets:
- Keep your pets indoors and secured. They might not recognize your children in costume or the children coming to your door, and they may become frightened or aggressive.
- Consider keeping your pet in a separate room, away from the door, when trick-or-treaters arrive. Strange people in even stranger clothes can frighten some pets.
- When you do answer the door, make sure that your pet doesn't suddenly attempt the great escape. Make sure your pet is wearing proper identification in case it does escape. Pets with identification are much more likely to be returned to their owners.
- Do not leave your pets outside unattended on Halloween, or on the days before or after. Halloween pranks committed against pets are sometimes vicious, and black cats are particularly at risk. A local community where I live has been having recent incidents of cats being sliced open and left to die. Most of them have been saved, but not all were so lucky. Remember the old maxim your mamma taught you: "It's better to be safe than sorry."
- Halloween treats are for kids, not pets. Candy wrappers and lollipop sticks can be hazardous if swallowed. Chocolate can be poisonous for some types of pets, especially dogs.
- Keep pumpkins out of reach of pets. Curious noses and paws may knock over a lit pumpkin and cause a fire.
- Even though you and your family have fun on Halloween, most pets don't enjoy being dressed up for Halloween. If you must dress up your pet, make sure the costume doesn't interfere with the pet's ability to breathe, see, hear, move or bark!
Remember that many hospitals offer free x-rays of Halloween candy and treats, and if you have any questions about pet safety, contact your veterinarian.
And if you need to bone up on ghost stories to share with your ghouls and goblins, or want to tell some ghost stories of your own, head on over to Searching for Ghosts or GhostsandStories.com.
But you might not want to venture over there alone! Take a friend along.
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