Halloween can be one of the most exciting and fun times of year for children and families. Between decorating, making and eating treats, and of course dressing up and going tricking or treating, children can’t wait to begin partaking in the festivities. Wellness and Fun are two of Educational Playcare’s Core Values, so whether you’re trick-or-treating or just passing out candy, we want families to have a great time celebrating Halloween, but be aware of important safety precautions. Here are some safety tips that families can use this Halloween, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Children love to get hands-on and help their parents but be sure that children are only given tasks that are age appropriate. For example, do not let small children carve their own pumpkins. Instead, allow your child to draw the stencil of the face for the adult to carve or just have them decorate the pumpkin with markers or paint. The same can go for decorating the house or baking Halloween treats; your child can still help and have fun but in a safe manner with age appropriate tasks. If your family does carve pumpkins, instead of using a traditional candle to light your pumpkins, trying using a small flashlight, battery-powered candle or glow stick!
If your family is going out trick or treating, there are many precautions parents can take so that their children can stay safe throughout the night. First and foremost, families should talk with their children regarding their expectation of the evening. Ensure that your children understand the ground rules and what your family’s game plan would be in case of an emergency. Remind your children to use crosswalks when crossing the street and to stay on sidewalks or on the side of the road if there isn’t a sidewalk. Young children should always be accompanied by an adult. Children should also not be playing with electronics or have headphones in while trick-or-treating, as they may become distracted while walking from house to house.
When it comes to picking out a costume, be sure that your child’s costume is the right size and length to help prevent tripping and falling. It is recommended that children do not use masks, as masks can block a child’s vision. Instead, we recommend using non-toxic makeup which families should test on a small area of skin ahead of time to make sure their child doesn’t have any unpleasant reactions. If your child’s costume does not have any reflective material on it, have them walk around with glow sticks or flashlights to make drivers more aware of them while they’re out trick-or-treating.
Staying in or Passing Out Candy
Even if you aren’t taking children out, there are still safety precautions you should consider in order to keep those participating out of harm’s way. Research shows that the most popular trick-or-treating hours are between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., so if you are out on the road, be sure you are aware of your surroundings and of children who may cross the street unexpectedly.
If you are passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, help keep them safe by removing anything from the yard and porches that children can trip on. This includes lawn decorations which may have strings pinned into the ground, toys, hoses, and even wet leaves or snow. Be sure your porch and yard are also well lit, so that visitors not only know your house is participating, but also so that they can better see where they are going. When deciding what to pass out to trick-or-treaters, consider some of the suggestions from the Teal Pumpkin Project which provides a list of non-food treats to pass out to children who have food allergies or use pretzels as a healthy alternative to candy.
What other Halloween safety tips would you recommend to families?