Halloween is the best holiday as a kid. Alright, maybe—just maybe—yuletide celebrations outdo dressing up as someone else and getting a tooth-rotting pile of candy. But that’s just because those holidays come with presents. Halloween lets us explore our imaginations, our fears and our sweet tooth. Despite how much fun Halloween can be, it also has the potential to be hazardous. It’s celebrating monsters and the underworld after all! So here are a few tips to keep your family safe during this frightful adventure.
Make costumes with bright, vibrant colors
Brainstorming Halloween costume ideas is the best. It is fun listing out the monsters, demons and ghouls, and then figuring out the necessary supplies, time, dedication and crafting abilities (or lack thereof). But there is one common theme among the classic Halloween costumes: using black and other dark colors. The dark colors in kids’ costumes can make them difficult to see at night. On moonless trick-or-treat outings the kids are practically camouflaged by creepy shadows, which can give you quite the fright when they vanish before your eyes and even more of a scare when the oncoming cars can’t see them either. To keep your kids (and your heart) safe, be sure to incorporate some type of bright and reflective color into their costumes. Maybe your vampire needs a bright red scarf, and reflective red stripes on their cloak? Perhaps your tiny, cackling witch clutching at your hand should have a hat and cloak adorned with bright orange glow-in-the-dark patterns? Whatever your solution might involve, ensure it is bright and reflective. If your child doesn’t have a costume accessory that is easily modified with some reflective tape, then consider adding some reflective tape to their trick-or-treat bags, giving them a glow in the dark necklace, or a handy flashlight with long-lasting batteries instead.
Like normal clothes, costumes should fit well
Sometimes we create the coolest costume idea, but the clothes we find to pull it off are too big. Perhaps the cloak is too loose, and your child can slip out of their shoes without even trying. This can easily become a dangerous situation if your child gets caught on a fence, entangled, or trips. Make sure they are comfortable!
Being able to see is important
Let’s face it, masks are pretty cool. Your kids can literally turn into anything with a mask. But masks are also hot, itchy and limit visibility. If you’re trick-or-treating in an area that has heavy traffic or other hard to see dangers, then consider designing their costume with non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. As with any type of makeup, it should be tested on a small patch of skin to check for allergic reactions and color.
Frankenstein says it best,” Fire, bad.”
Fire is a cornerstone decoration in Halloween. When you’re shopping for costume supplies, especially store-bought costumes, wigs and accessories, double check that the materials are adorned clearly with a label saying they are flame resistant. When you are decorating your own home for Halloween switch out traditional candles for battery powered ones or even a small flashlight to light your pumpkins and luminaries. Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
A light in the darkness
We go trick-or-treating in the dark for a reason: it’s spookier that way! But, it’s harder to see the potential dangers lurking around every corner. But those dangers can actually exist outside of our minds, too. It’s really important to have a light source, and a strong one at that. (No, your phone doesn’t count.) We advise you carry a heavy-duty flashlight or wear a headlamp. You can get smaller flashlights, too, for your kids to explore what candy they get. Don’t forget to equip the lights with a fresh set of batteries.
A monster at your side
Halloween can—and in some cases should—be scary. But sometimes kids can get too scared. Some children handle being scared well and others panic and begin to run away. Stay at your kid’s side during the entire evening; don’t let them go wandering too far lest they disappear or get nervous and lose sight of you. Also designate what houses are okay for them to visit. The rule of thumb is to visit homes with the porch light on. This is particularly important for older kids who are off trick-or-treating by themselves. Review where your older children are going to go during their Halloween escapades, and then give them a curfew of when you expect them to be home. In case your kids do go out alone or they sneakily slip out of your sight, consider getting them a portable safety alarm, like the Rayovac Power Protect. The device is a small phone charger that doubles as an emergency alarm by pulling a pin. We hope you and your family have a fun, safe Halloween! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Safe Kids provided recommendations for this story.