With October 31 fast approaching, you’re probably busy planning costumes, carving jack-o'-lanterns, and stocking up on candy. But it’s also a good idea, among all those preparations, to put some precautions in place to ensure your Halloween will be as safe as it is spooky. Below are seven rules for safe trick-or-treating.
1. MAKE SURE YOUR KID’S COSTUME FITS WELL—AND WON’T CAUSE INJURIES.
Your child will be spending the entire evening in his costume, so make sure it actually fits. Hem dresses and pants that are too long so that your child won’t trip. Outfit your trick-or-treaters in comfortable walking shoes, and make sure laces are double-knotted. And if a costume requires a weapon (sword, lightsaber, etc.), make sure it’s flexible and made from plastic.
Masks are often made with ill-fitting eye slits and next-to-nonexistent holes through which to breathe, so opt instead for non-toxic face paint and makeup. The CDC recommends testing the paint or makeup on a small area of your child’s face ahead of time in order to check for allergic reactions, and then washing everything off before bedtime that night. Be sure to check that the costume is flame resistant as well.
2. MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD WILL BE PROPERLY SUPERVISED.
Per Kids Health, children under 12 should not trick-or-treat without an adult. If your kid is old enough to knock on doors alone, make sure she does so with a group of friends. And whether you’re going out with your child or not, plan their route in advance. It will help ensure no one ends up in unfamiliar areas, and that family members always know where everyone is.
3. MAKE SURE YOUR KID CAN SEE—AND BE SEEN—IN THE DARK.
Equip your child with glow sticks or flashlights stocked with fresh batteries so that he can find his way on unlit sidewalks. The Red Cross also suggests adorning his costume and trick-or-treat bag with reflective tape, so that he can be easily spotted on dark streets.
4. USE STREET SMARTS.
When out trick-or-treating, be sure to cross the street at crosswalks and with the light. When it’s not possible to travel on sidewalks, the CDC recommends walking on the edge of the road facing oncoming traffic to be safest.
Teach your child to be aware of cars backing up and pulling out of parking spots, and to never dart out from between parked cars. Safe Kids Worldwide also advises instructing your child to make eye contact with drivers, to ensure they’ve actually seen her before she crosses in front of their car.
5. BE CAREFUL WHERE—AND WHO—YOU TRICK-OR-TREAT.
The safest trick-or-treating happens in familiar, well-lit areas, says the National Safety Council. Plan to trick-or-treat in your own neighborhood, where there’s a good chance you’ll know the people whose doors you’ll be knocking on. If your child is venturing farther from home, caution her against visiting homes without their lights on. Only take treats at the doorway; make sure your child understands he should never enter someone’s home.
6. CHECK YOUR CHILD’S CANDY TO MAKE SURE IT IS SAFE TO EAT.
Although tampering with candy is rare these days, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should still check your child’s loot for items that are unwrapped or aren’t packaged in their original wrapping. If you have a young child at home, throw out any very small or hard candies that could cause choking. Similar caution should be used if your child has food allergies.
7. PROVIDE YOUR CHILD WITH IDENTIFICATION.
Despite all your best planning, it is still possible you will get separated from your child. To ensure his safety, the MayoClinic suggests pinning a piece of paper with your child’s name, address, and your phone number to an inside coat pocket, to aid in a quick and easy reunion.
All images via iStock.