Halloween is a frighteningly fun time for children of all ages, but before you send your kids out trick or treating around the neighbourhood, consider a few safety tips:
Teach your children how to safely cross the road. This is vital whether they are trick or treating with or without you — it’s an important life skill. Practice stopping at the curb, looking both ways twice, and listening for approaching vehicles. Children should cross at intersections when able, to increase visibility of both pedestrians and drivers.
Choose bright costumes that will be visible from a distance and at night. Also make sure to check the length of the costume so your child doesn’t trip over it.
If possible, try to use makeup instead of a mask on Halloween. Masks can reduce your child’s vision and interfere with their breathing. If you do choose a mask, have your child try it on and practise moving around the house.
If your child’s costume includes a weapon, make sure it is soft and flexible and will not cause damage if flung around as you know is going to happen.
When it comes time to carve pumpkins, never give your child the knife. Instead, have your child draw with marker on the pumpkin the face they would like to see. An adult should always be the one doing the carving.
If you are health-conscious or would like to provide a healthier alternative to the regular Halloween treats, try giving away stickers, pencils, sugar-free gum, glow sticks, or bracelets.
If you are giving away any nut products, make sure they are adequately packaged to avoid any allergic reactions.
Children under the age of 10 should be accompanied trick or treating by an adult or an older, responsible child.
Stay on the sidewalk or, if there is no sidewalk, as close to the side of the road as possible. When walking on the road make sure you are facing traffic and that your child is walking and not running.
If your child feels he or she is too old to trick or treat with a parent but you feel they are not ready to go alone, compromise and walk a distance behind your child.
Warn your child never to go into a stranger’s car or house. This may seem obvious and is a rule they hear countless times over the year, but it is easy to get over-excited on Halloween and forget some of the rules — even the most important ones.
Stay in well-lit areas and only go to houses that have their outside lights on.
Stay away from candles or other flames — costumes can be very flammable!
Trick or treat all along one side of the road before crossing to the other side — never zig-zag from one side to the other.
If older children are going by themselves, make sure that they are travelling in a group and have flashlights. In this circumstance it may not be a bad idea to bend the rules and lend your child a cellphone for the night if he or she is mature enough.
Start trick or treating early. The earlier you start the earlier you can get home — it is a school night after all.
Carefully examine all the treats your child has brought home. Unwrapped candy should be thrown out. Any candy with wrappers that are ripped or damaged in any way should also be discarded.
Check toys for small or broken parts. Only children older than three should be given toys with small parts because of the choking hazard they present.
Children with diabetes should be allowed to keep potato chips, peanuts, and sugar-free gum. An alternative to trick or treating for children with diabetes, or children who may not be comfortable trick or treating, is to stay home in costume and give out treats to all the trick or treaters. This can actually be more fun as they get to stay warm and see all the fun costumes!