Much of Halloween safety is just common sense but it’s always a good idea to do a quick review. Twice as many children are hit by motor vehicles on Halloween than any other night of the year. Please do try to pay more attention when driving on Halloween. Make eye contact with children at crosswalks. And parents, tell your children to do the same. Making eye contact assures that both drivers and children see each other and keeps accidents to a minimum.
Carving pumpkins can be a dangerous undertaking, even for an adult. Let younger children decorate with markers, paint, glitter glue, and stickers. Parents can carve a few to light. Speaking of lighting pumpkins, skip the candles altogether. They’re too dangerous. Battery-operated LED lights are much safer and flicker just like candles. They can even rotate colors!
Make your home safe for trick-or-treaters by clearing a path to the door; free from lawn implements, toys, or decorations. Keep decorations off the stairs and railings. Hand out treats, rather than letting children grab from the bowl. If you have a pet, it might be best to have a family member stay with them in another room. Doorbells ringing constantly and people tramping up and down stairs can make even the most placid pet go a little crazy. Chocolate can make pets very ill and Xylitol (found in many treats) is extremely toxic to dogs.
As for costumes, keep a few basic principles in mind. Use makeup instead of masks that obscure vision. Be sure to test on a small area for skin sensitivity. Costumes should be short enough as to avoid tripping, especially when walking up stairs. Speaking of walking, no oversized shoes or high heels. Gym shoes are best; boots if the weather is wet. Bright costumes are best but put reflective tape on costumes, candy bags, and pails. Keep accessories to a minimum. Swords and other accessories should be made of soft plastic. Do not use decorative contact lenses, they are not safe and can cause permanent eye damage.
Plan a route with older children and accompany younger ones. Encourage children to stay on sidewalks. They should avoid alleys and running across lawns. Use crosswalks and never run between parked cars. Only go to well-lit houses. Don’t eat any candy until it’s been checked at home. Tampering is very rare, but some people do give out old or improperly wrapped treats. You can check out some dentists that will buy or trade treats for toys.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO