Halloween can be a fun and exciting time for kids. Parents, children and homeowners should keep these simple safety tips in mind when preparing for this holiday.
Tips for parents:
- Do not use masks. Masks make it hard for children to see what’s around them, including cars. Try a hypoallergenic (less likely to cause an allergic reaction), non-toxic make-up kit instead.
- Make or buy costumes in light-coloured material.
- Place strips of reflective tape on the back and front of costumes, so that drivers can better see your child.
- Costumes should fit properly to prevent trips and falls. Avoid items such as oversized shoes, high heels, long dresses and long capes.
- Dress your child for the weather. Add layers if needed.
- Put your child’s name, address and phone number on their costume.
- Children under 10 should be accompanied by an adult for trick or treating. By the age of 10, some children are ready to go trick-or-treating with a group of friends.
- Keep in mind that gum and hard candy can pose a choking risk for young children.
- Remove make-up before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
If your child is going out without an adult:
- Make sure your child is in a group of at least 3 people.
- Give them a flashlight. A cell phone is also a good idea if you have one.
- Discuss in advance the route they should follow. Ask them to call you if they plan to go on a street that isn’t on the route.
- Set a curfew (and make sure they have a watch with them).
- Tell your children not to eat anything until they get home.
For children and youth:
- Carry a white bag or pillowcase for your candy, and add some reflective tape.
- Dress for the weather. Cold weather or water absorbent materials in the rain can be very uncomfortable.
- Bring a cell phone if you can, in case you need to make an emergency phone call.
- Always travel in groups. Be sure there are at least 3 of you at all times.
- Let your parents know where you’re going to be at all times.
- Don’t visit houses that are not well lit. Never go inside a stranger’s house.
- Use the sidewalk whenever possible. If there’s no sidewalk, walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
- Don’t criss-cross back and forth across the street. Work your way up one side of the street, and then start on the other.
- If you have any allergies, tell the person who is giving out the treats.
- If you have allergies that need an EpiPen, bring it with you and let your friends know what to do if you need it.
- Don’t eat any of your treats before you get home. Once home, ask your parents to look through your treats with you to make sure everything is okay.
- Turn on outdoor lights, and replace burnt-out bulbs.
- Remove items from your yard or porch that might trip a child.
- Sweep wet leaves from your steps and driveway.
- Use alternative to candles in your pumpkins, such as a flashlight or a battery-operated candle.
- Some children have food allergies. Consider giving treats other than candy, such as stickers, erasers or a small toy.
- Put out a teal-coloured pumpkin or a poster of one in your window to let children with food allergies know that what you’re handing out is allergen-free (e.g., not food).
Alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating
- Local community centres sometimes offer Halloween night activities.
- Local shopping centres often have trick-or-treat nights for young children in a more controlled environment.
- Plan a Halloween night at home with themed games and movies. Invite friends.
Courtesy of the Canadian Paediatric Society. For more information on your child’s growth and development, visit www.caringforkids.cps.ca or www.soinsdenosenfants.cps.ca, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/caringforkids.cps.ca and on Twitter @CaringforKids or @soinsenfants.
Related read: Make trick-or-treating accessible to kids with allergies