Tips for a frightfully fun and safe Halloween | Arts & Culture
By Jane Harrison, R.D., Staff Nutritionist, myOptumHealth
It's trick-or-treat time, and your child can't wait to gallop from house to house at dusk to load up on candy. Will she trip over her movie star dress? Can he see clearly through his mad scientist mask?
While lost in the mad dash for chocolate, safety may be the last thing on their minds. That is why you need to take special care to keep your children safe from potential Halloween hazards.
Before you let your child out to go trick or treating, take time to go over important safety rules. Keep in mind the following for planning a fun and safe Halloween experience:
- Buy or use only non-flammable costume fabrics.
- Keep costumes short enough that kids won't trip or fall over them.
- Make sure their shoes are comfortable and fit well. High heels or oversized shoes are not a good idea, no matter how much they complement a child's Halloween costume.
- Avoid masks whenever possible. If your child does wear a mask, be sure the eyeholes are large enough not to block the child's vision. Face paint (a type that is non-toxic and hypoallergenic) is a better choice for ensuring good visibility.
- Trim costumes and goody bags with reflective tape so that your child is clearly seen by passing motorists. Reflective tape can be bought at most hardware or sporting goods stores. Consider hanging fluorescent "glo-lites" on the front and back of your young child's costume. This way you can keep track of them in the dark and make them visible to motorists.
- Do not let children ride their bicycles when trick or treating. Costumes can easily get hung up in the bike parts.
On the trail
- An adult should always go along with a young child trick or treating. If you allow an older child to go out without an adult, be certain that he or she will be traveling in a group with at least one or two other kids.
- Teach children to dial 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or get lost.
- Plan the route you and your child will take. If necessary, set a time limit for your kids to trick or treat. All children should only be permitted to trick or treat in familiar neighborhoods.
- Carry a cell phone and flashlight with you while trick or treating.
- Instruct children only to accept treats at the doorway and never go inside the home of a stranger. If a house is not lit up, do not visit it.
- Always cross the street at an intersection or crosswalk, and be sure to look both ways before crossing.
- Instruct your child not to eat any treats until an adult has had a chance to inspect them. When inspecting your child's treat bag, discard any unwrapped or homemade treats.
- Be sure that the path to your home is cleared of wet leaves, unsecured electrical cords and other tripping hazards.
- Be careful if you are driving a vehicle on Halloween. Excited children often dart into traffic. They may be especially hard to see if they are dressed in dark costumes.
Using these safety tips can help you make the Halloween season enjoyable for kids -- and their worried parents.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Halloween safety tips. Accessed: 02/13/2009
- National Safety Council. Halloween Safety. Accessed: 02/13/2009
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