By Nancy Mattia, CTW Features
What could be more fun than putting on a costume, yelling “Trick or treat!” to strangers and getting rewarded with candy bars? Whether or not you accompany your little superhero or Disney princess around the neighborhood, you’ll want to ensure that Halloween is a happy, safe day for everyone. Excited kids may dart into the street, oblivious to cars barreling towards them; in fact, a child’s odds of getting hit by a car more than doubles on Halloween, according to
safekids.org. But outdoor safety is only part of the equation. To keep children safe, everything from the costumes they wear to the candy they collect during the night come into play. Below, some ways to make sure your child stays safe on Halloween:
Avoid any costume that obscures a child’s vision
Masks, hoods and wigs can get in the way of seeing what’s around them. Have your child try on the costume ahead of time so you can correct any problems. The costume should also fit well. If it’s too big or too long, your child may trip and get hurt.
Increase the child’s visibility
It’s not just important that a child can see but that they can be seen by drivers traveling down dark roads and streets too. Add reflective tape or stickers to costumes and candy bags. Give the kids flashlights or glow sticks to light their way.
Review basic safety and traffic rules
Even though you’re giving your child permission to ring the doorbells of neighbors you may not know that well, they still need to follow the stranger-danger rules. On Halloween that includes to never enter a home or car of someone they don’t know. As for traffic rules, remind kids to cross the street at corners or crosswalks, says safekids.org, and to look both ways.
Insist they trick or treat with a group
The adage “There’s safety in numbers” certainly rings true on Halloween. Your child may be mature enough to go trick or treating without you but they shouldn’t go alone—it’s safer (and more fun) to go door-to-door with other kids their age. Tell them to stay in well-lit, familiar areas and to only go to homes that are well lit too.
Don’t allow any candy eating until they get home
Vet their sweet windfall before they indulge, throwing out anything that is unwrapped, looks like it’s been opened or resealed or has discolored packaging.
Give them a curfew
You don’t want to put a damper on anyone’s fun but trick or treating has limited hours. While the youngest revelers will start their candy quests earlier and end earlier, older elementary school kids and tweens typically trick-or-treat until 8:00pm or 9:00pm.