Ah, Halloween. The time for little tricksters to get treated from door to door, and the opportunity for them to drag their filled pillowcase or pumpkin home again after the evening is said and done. But the darker aspects of this holiday are also very real.
Here are a few common-sense Halloween safety tips that are sometimes forgotten in the excitement of the season:
- Children love to wear masks, but they can also inhibit their vision. Face paints may be a safer alternative, even for the Iron Man or Ariel in your family. Preschoolers also aren’t as likely to re-adjust masks once they are in place. Check to make sure the eye holes aren’t situated on their temples every now and then, if they insist on wearing masks. Halloween in no fun if Megatron or Tatiana end up on their knees in a dirty puddle or patch of mud.
- Keep hold of your child, especially when walking along busy roads. Children are apt to dart across streets if they see a friend, or if a particular house is well decorated. They have no regard for traffic at this age. No one wants a Halloween tragedy.
- Don’t let them nibble on candy from their treat bags or pillow cases until you can get home and check it out. Keep a few treats in your pocket for them to nibble on instead. You may meet with protests, but better protests than illness or injury.
- Limit the amount of houses visited according to age. Children can seem to go on forever, but when their batteries die down, you will be the one carrying them home. A stroller is a good idea for youngsters.
- Consider visiting a “Trunk or Treat” site, or malls instead of going Trick or Treating on Halloween eve. Children still have the fun of going around the place to gather goodies, but it’s in a safer environment. You can still visit a close friend or neighbor and show off costumes.
- Stay in familiar areas when trick or treating. Go to houses you recognize, and neighbors you know when children are very young. They don’t need an excess amount of candy – they just need the experience to make them happy.
- Consider hosting a little Halloween party at your home. It doesn’t take much to make preschoolers happy – some goodies, some cool punch, some friends, a few games or activities, goodies bags and a Halloween movie will satisfy most little ones. The adults can party as well and enjoy the evening, perhaps in costume too. It can be a family-friendly, memorable occasion.
- Keep your eyes on your children. Strangers are about this evening, and it doesn’t take much time for a child to disappear. Adults all look the same to preschoolers in the dark. One set of legs feels pretty much like the other to a little one. Be vigilant.
- Only visit houses lit up for the holiday. Many elderly people are beyond the years of having Trick or Treaters at the door, and some people simply can’t afford to shell out candy to the masses. Please make sure your children know the rules before you leave home, and enforce them. In all the excitement, children are apt to forget.
- Don’t let your children near unknown pets. Many children have been bitten by frightened animals at Halloween and other times of the year. Some folks insist on taking their dogs trick or treating, for whatever unknown reason. Children can rush up to these “furry friends” and startle them. Even the sweetest dog can be frightened by a child in costume who sticks their face into the dog’s muzzle.
- Have fun, be careful, take photos, enjoy the evening, but don’t make it a long one for little guys and girls. Most will have already had a school or child care party, so they will have started celebrating early. Too long an evening can end up in tears or illness, and no one wants that. Maybe going to a few houses, a trunk or treat party, and a few stores at the local mall will satisfy your child, and enable you to celebrate the season in safety and style.