If your kids are old enough that you’ve got a few Halloweens under your parental belt, you might not be thinking about Halloween safety. However, given that more child pedestrians are killed on Halloween than any other day of the year, it’s a good idea to do a quick review of the safety tips.
Below we offer some Halloween safety reminders for the kids if yours are trick-or-treating, and for your house if you have costume-clad kiddos coming to your door for those tasty treats.
Halloween safety for the kids
Halloween safety tips abound and much of it is commonsense, but it’s still worth reviewing—and talking to your kids about. According to Safekids.org, only one-third of parents talk to their kids about Halloween safety, even though three-quarters of those parents admit to having Halloween fears. Maybe these tips will make it easier to have those talks…
When it comes to the kids, there are two different topics to cover: costumes and what we’ll call street smarts.
Costume considerations—First off, let’s make them visible. Make your child easy to see by adding reflective tape or stickers to their costumes and candy bags. If the evening is chilly and they put coats on over their costumes, add the reflective tape to the coats. When looking at costumes with your kids, look for bright colors and avoid costumes that are dark or black. Glow sticks are a great way to make kids visible in the dark and could be made part of a costume with a little creativity.
Secondly, let’s make them safe. Avoid any costumes that are too big or baggy, or that drag on the ground possibly tripping your child. This applies to shoes too. Those huge clown feet shoes might be hilarious for the classroom costume party at school, but leave them home when going door-to-door as a trick-or-treater because they are a tripping hazard. Avoid masks or any oversize hats or accessories that can obstruct your child’s vision. And finally, consider the safety factor of any costume accessories like swords or light sabers and even toy guns. If there’s a chance something is dangerous, it has to be left at home.
Older kids going solo—You might think your older kids don’t need the same kind of reviews and reminders as the younger set, but they do, especially if trick-or-treating without you. Kids who are 12 or older and trick-or-treating without an adult should still be in a group at all times. No trick-or-treating alone! These kids should carry identification, including your phone number, and they should be equipped with a cell phone or at least a number to your cell phone. Make sure they have flashlights with new batteries, and make sure they know to only go to houses with outside lights on. These older kids should also be given a route to follow and a strict curfew. In addition, review street smarts with them (below) and review the safety of their costumes too, as many of the same tips apply.
Street smarts for all—Whether your kids are older and going it sans grownups or younger and holding your hand, everyone can use a good dose of commonsense reminders before venturing out onto the sidewalks. Remind your child to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street, and not to run ahead of you—especially not across the street. Remind them to use crosswalks and sidewalks at all times and not to cut through people’s yards. Everybody should be packing flashlights and keeping them on at all times for visibility.
Safety tips for your house
You want to keep your kids safe on Halloween, but you want to keep your little visitors safe too. So double check your outside lighting and look for any trip hazards that might cause a kid to fall while headed to or from your front door. In the dark a few days prior to Halloween, check to make sure that:
- Your front porch is well lit, and your yard or walkway too if necessary.
- Your sidewalk is clear of any tripping hazards.
- Your yard is clear of tripping hazards, should an excited child decide to cut across the lawn.
- Your stairs leading to your front door are also clear and well lit.
In addition, make sure you place jack-o-lanterns where they won’t become trip hazards, nor catch a child’s costume on fire should someone come by wearing a loose or flowing garb. See more tips for making your house a safe place to stop on Halloween night.
Finally, be a much more cautious driver if you must get behind the wheel on Halloween. Kids are going to be kids, darting in and out of parked cars, crossing the street without checking to see if it’s clear, wearing costumes that make them barely visible…so be ready and be wary!