Before long, we’ll all be hearing refrains of, “Trick or treat, smell my feet; give me something good to eat. If you don’t, I don’t care. I’ll pull down your underwear!”
And though dropped draws pose no threat, there are real Halloween dangers lurking out there as our kids turn themselves into Elmos, ghosts, monsters, superheroes, and princesses, too, and go knocking on doors.
That means we parents must play it safe by being forewarned and proactive like those in Blue Bell who will man the Goblin Patrol in their neighborhood. They’ll be riding around in teams of two with flashlights and cell phones in hand, looking out for problems, ever ready to lend a hand.
Until the big night, though, keep these suggestions in mind:
1. Purchase only a well-fitting, light-colored, flame-resistant costume for your child and add some reflective tape–ditto for the goodie bag.
2. Make sure the costume is short enough to avoid tripping.
3. Sturdy, comfy shoes are a must to ensure comfort and avoid falls.
4. Use makeup; masks can interfere with lines of vision.
5. A flashlight is essential—never a candle.
6. Know your child’s trick or treating route and insist that s/he avoid busy streets, walks only on sidewalks, and always goes with a friend or two.
7. Accompany younger children.
8. If not accompanying your child, a cell phone is a good idea in case of an emergency.
9. Advise that your child stop only at well-lit homes.
10. After all the trick or treating is done, carefully pore through the bag of goodies and dispose of any that are unwrapped or appear to have been tampered with.
11. Slice open such fruits as apples to check for foreign objects.
12. Remember that small pieces of candy pose a choking risk, so keep them out of the hands of small children. That goes for raisins, too.
And when it comes to pumpkins, remember that 17.6% of finger/hand injuries account for most Halloween injuries, so:
• Never allow your child to do the carving; it’s dangerous business.
• Don’t use a kitchen knife, as they can easily get stuck in the thick pumpkin skin. Instead use only a specifically designed carving knife.
• Use small strokes, moving the knife away from you, not toward you.
• Play it really safe and paint your pumpkin instead of carving it.
And if you have a pet, remember that chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats—the darker and more bitter, the more poisonous—plus raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure. Those candy wrappers pose a threat, too, because animals never take the time to remove them. As for glow sticks and glow jewelry, they can cause painful mouth irritations. And, if you dress that pet of yours, make sure s/he can still see, breathe, and walk normally.
In other words, along with dressing up and knocking on doors, Halloween is all about the candy, so keep it sweet by playing it safe.