It’s that time of year again…. Halloween! While parties are a good idea, it’s still customary in many areas to trick-or-treat. While the majority of children will come home safe and injury free, it’s still smart to remind ourselves of some basic safety tips.
When considering children’s costumes, it’s always a good idea to think about their mobility and vision first. Add reflective tape to costumes and bags. Make sure costumes fit well, are the correct length, and that they don’t have too many attachments or accessories. Remember: kids are going up and down stairs carrying a bag. Make-up is preferable to masks. Make sure to test first earlier in the week for skin sensitivity. Hats and wigs should be affixed firmly, so they don’t slip and obscure vision.
Pumpkins are a fun craft for all this time of year. Small children should not be carving and older children should be closely monitored. They should use pumpkin carving tools. Use battery operated LED lights or flashlights to light pumpkins. If you must use candles, use votives. Place pumpkins well out of the path of trick-or-treaters on a sturdy surface or table. Keep them as clear from the wind as you can.
At home, check the path from your sidewalk to your front door. Is there a clear path free from tripping hazards like hoses and yard equipment? For those of you that decorate, keep a clear path going up the stairs. Small children will use the railing, so it’s a good idea to keep stairs free of decorations. Have the house well lit, with a bright bulb in the front door fixture. If your pets are excitable, it might be a good idea to have someone in the house keep them back during trick-or-treating.
Use common sense on the trick-or-treat routes. Accompany all small children. Have a talk with older kids to remind them of safe behavior. Stick to sidewalks, be careful around driveways, and stay out of alleys. Use crosswalks and always make sure motorists see you before crossing. Never enter a house or car for a treat and stay away from unlit houses. Set routes for older children and set a return time. Take advantage of our new technology and use tracker apps for their cell phones.
Halloween is of course one of the most unhealthy holidays (next to Christmas). Feed your kiddos a good, healthy meal before trick or treating. Ask them to restrain from eating candy till they get home. Check the candy for old or unwrapped treats, rather than tampering; as it is quite rare. Ration treats for every day following. There are also give aways to charities and dentists for excess candy.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO