According to the U.S. Census, there are about 41 million potential trick-or-treaters between the ages of 5 and 15 who roam the streets looking for the best candy. That’s a lot of children walking around, and as most parents know, where kids go, safety concerns follow.
Whether you’re a mom or dad planning on dressing your child up as a Disney character, vampire, or professional athlete, you can set a good example for your kids by conducting yourself in the right manner and setting ground rules. With that in mind, here are some tips you can use to help keep your child safe on Halloween night.
- Stay Visible: According to Portland State University, Halloween is an accident-prone time. That’s why it’s never a bad idea to take a flashlight out when you and your child are going trick-or-treating. It allows drivers to see you, and lets homeowners know you’re approaching their door and can give them time to restrain their dogs (if they have any), and more importantly, load up their bucket with more candy. As an alternative route, you can also use glow sticks. Although they work the same way, they aren’t as bright as a flashlight. So if you decide to use a glow stick, make sure the community you’re going trick-or-treating in is well lit.
- Trick-or-Treat Rules Out on the Road: On the day of Halloween your child will be filled with excitement. They’ll get to put on their scary costume, walk around the neighborhood at night, and eat lots of candy with friends. Which means the last thing they’ll be thinking about is road safety. This is why it’s important for parents to remind their child about the everyday safety tips. Teach them how to check their surroundings, even with all the commotion going on in the community that particular night. Distracted driving has become a serious issue within the past couple years, which is why insurance companies and other road safety organizations are focusing on distracted driving nationwide.
In fact, statistics show that a large majority of drivers who are involved in crashes are being distracted behind the wheel. So let your child know to look left, right, left again, and right before making an attempt to cross the street and to continue looking both ways until they make it safely on the sidewalk. If you’re walking with them, make sure they know to wait for you at the curb before proceeding.
Kids should also remain on the sidewalk at all times and never cut through people’s yards. This can help prevent accidents with things like yard decorations and other hazardous items that are hard to spot with the naked eye.
- Costume Precautions: As a parent, it’s important to choose the right costume for your child to wear on Halloween. In other words, pick something that has bright colors on it and makes them visible at night or in the dark. Parents should also make sure that any store-bought costumes, accessories (beards, hats, masks, and wigs), and plastic jewelry are labeled as “flame resistant.” That way, if homeowners go against electrical safety tips and overload an outlet with too many plugs, your child’s not at risk due to their clothing.
That being said, it’s equally important to avoid putting your child in oversized shirts, and/or pants. For one, it makes it difficult for them to walk. Secondly, clothing dragging on the ground can come into contact with open flames from a jack-o-lantern. To play it safe, be sure to put your child in something that fits them. As a final point, if your child has a prop that comes with their costume (sword, knife, or tools), it should either be made out of plastic or rubber. That way if they fall while carrying their prop it will bend and not puncture their skin.
- Make A Plan: For starters, children under the age of 12 should always be accompanied by an adult when trick-or-treating. Their personal items should also be labeled with their name and contact information just in case you both get separated from one another. If you have a child that’s older than 12, double check and see if they know how to reach you in case of an emergency. If they aren’t sure, give them a cell phone to use for the night so you can stay in contact with each other. Communication is key at this point, especially if this is their first time going out with friends without adult supervision.
Prior to them leaving the house, let them know their curfew, and establish a designated meeting area in case the phone dies while they’re out. If you’d like, you can also pre-plan a trick-or-treating route for them to follow: one that’s busy with kids and other parents, and has the best candy, of course. In the end, Halloween is a fun and creative time for both children and parents, so go out and enjoy it together.
Thanks for the read! There are so many useful tips out there to choose from I couldn’t possibly cover them all. What are some other important things parents should keep in mind? Feel free to leave a comment below.