Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips for Parents
Costumes – Safety precaution starts before ever stepping foot in the street. In fact, Halloween costumes can present their own hazards. Masks can make it difficult for children to see or breathe. If at all possible, skip the mask altogether and use non-toxic makeup instead. Dresses, capes, and sheets should not be so long as to drag, as this creates a tripping hazard. Children should avoid wearing heels and all shoelaces should be double-tied to avoid tripping on them in the dark. Try to avoid costumes that have weapons (pitchfork, scythe, etc.) as accessories. However, if the costume won’t seem complete without a weapon, make sure it is made of plastic or preferably soft rubber.
Clothing – Related to costumes is clothing. Children should wear appropriate clothing. If you’re like Felipe Femur the skeleton, the wind’ll cut right through you unless you dress accordingly. Make sure you and your children wear comfortable clothes beneath your costumes, appropriate for the weather. Put on a coat or sweater and sweats if it’s cold out. If it’s raining or snowing, consider both a coat and a transparent poncho for slipping over costumes. Shoe’s should be comfortable ones as trick-or-treating requires quite a bit of walking. If possible, choose light colors to be better seen at night by drivers.
Be Seen – Besides bright clothing, everyone should apply reflective tape to their costume to help ensure they are seen by drivers on the road. Also, carry a flashlight with you to keep your path lit at all times. Glow sticks wouldn’t hurt either.
Don’t Go Inside – Trick-or-treaters occasionally run across a house where someone invites them to “step inside.” Remind your trick-or-treater(s) that they should never go inside a stranger’s home while trick-or-treating (or ever for that matter). Children should easily be able to get the candy they seek from the porch. If the homeowner is persistent, and keeps encouraging them to “come inside,” inform the children to simply walk away and move on to the next house.
Say No! – If your children are old enough to trick-or-treat in a group without parental supervision, be sure and designate a time for their return. Teach your children that if a stranger offers them a ride or to take them to a Halloween party, they should say “no”. Stranger danger is important to remember no matter how old your kids are.
Stay Close – Trick-or-treating could potentially take you several streets away from your house. This can cause sore legs, aching feet, a bit of frustration, and possibly some confusion. Map out a route before ever leaving the house. You can even do this with Google Maps or by going for a walk during the day in order to get a better look beforehand. Stick to routes that you and your childern are familiar with to avoid getting lost.
Stick Together – Children under the age of twelve should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit. They should also trick-or-treat in groups as there is safety in numbers.
Obey Traffic Laws – Cross only the street at corners, while using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right, and left again when crossing and keep your head up, looking for cars and bikes as you cross. Avoid distracting electronic devices and keep your head up as you walk. Don’t cross if you have to run to do so before a car gets too close. Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Also teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars. Always walk on sidewalks or paths; not in the street. However, if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up from driveways. .
Check Candy – Make sure your children know that trick-or-treating is for collecting candy; not eating it as they receive it. Wait until you can inspect it in the good lighting at home before eating any of it. If your children just can’t wait until they get home, or you expect your children will be tempted to eat some candy before you’ve had a chance to inspect it, pack a bag with some of your own candy so they have something to snack on. When sorting through candy at the end of the night, be sure to throw away any candy that is not in its original wrapper. Candy that looks as though it has been opened is not worth the risk–throw it out! While it’s highly unlikely that any candy will be maliciously tampered with, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Consider Apps – Technology can be both distracting and helpful. Certainly be careful not to let cellphones and other electronic devices distract you while out trick-or-treating, but don’t be afraid to use phones for directions and even for information on potential houses to knock at. Apps like Nextdoor allow users to mark their houses for as Halloween participants. Take advantage of this as often those who go through the trouble to add their house will offer the best treats.