Pumpkin patches, haunted houses, and creepy costumes on display in every store. Halloween is on our doorsteps. As you dust off the cobwebs from your spooky decorations and stock up enough sugar to feed Buddy the Elf for a year, take some time to prepare for what really matters this Halloween—your child’s safety.
Halloween is scary for children because it is the one night of the year that they run into monsters on the street. Halloween is scary for parents because it is the one night of the year that their worst dreams come true—children darting across dark streets and knocking on the doors of strangers.
But Halloween doesn’t have to be dangerous for children or scary for parents. Here are 10 simple things you can do to make your child safer this Halloween.
If your kids are going to be out trick-or-treating when it’s dark, make sure they are carrying around a flashlight or wearing glow sticks so that they can see around the neighborhood and so motorists can see them, too!
2. Kid-friendly decorating
Do not let small children carve their own pumpkin. Instead, let them paint or color the outside of their pumpkins with colored markers, or make kid-friendly jack-o-lanterns with plastics cups, colored LED lights, and black markers.
3. Stay on the porch
Teach your children to never go inside the homes of neighbors, family friends, or strangers to get candy unless you or another trusted adult are with them.
4. Save it for later
Teach your kids not to eat any of their candy until they have brought it home and sorted it through with you. This way you can check for any tampering on the wrapping. This is also important if your child has food allergies because many popular Halloween candies are made in facilities that process nuts, dairy, and wheat.
5. Start the night off right
Before your kids head out, make sure they eat a good dinner. This will give them the long-lasting energy they will need for walking around neighborhoods and make it that much easier for them to wait to eat their candy until they get home.
6. Dress them up smart
Make your kids’ costumes safe by adding reflective tape to the body of their costume to make them more visible to motorists. Also, make sure that their toys or accessories (like swords or wands) are soft and flexible, so if they fall on them when walking they won’t hurt themselves.
7. In case of emergency
Stick tags on the insides of your children’s costumes with their name, address, and phone number written down in case of emergency. For older children, review with them their address and phone number to make sure they have it memorized.
8. Fight the fire before it starts
Make sure your kids’ costumes are labeled “flame-retardant” because many homes use candles to light their jack-o-lanterns. Though a “flame-retardant” costume may still catch on fire, it will burn slower giving your child time to stop, drop, and roll.
9. Light up the night
Make sure your home and yard is well lit so no trick-or-treaters fall and hurt themselves walking up to your house. This will protect you from being liable for someone getting hurt on your property and wanting to make a claim against your homeowner’s insurance policy. Also, if you have any pets, it is a good idea to bring them inside your home on Halloween. This way you protect your animal from getting hurt by anyone coming into your yard and make sure that your pet does not bite or attack any children walking near your home.
10. Plan it out beforehand
For your older children who go trick-or-treating with friends, draw up a map with them of the route they are going to take when trick-or-treating and set a time they need to be home by. This way you will know where to look for them if something happens. Make sure that your child has a watch to keep the time so they can make sure to get home by curfew. Also, it is a good idea to let them take a cellphone along trick-or-treating so they can call you in case of emergencies.
Follow these tips to keep your family safe this Halloween so that you can enjoy the fun of the night with your children, and make it a great night that the whole family will remember.