Tag Archives: halloween

On the Spookiest of Nights, Safety Still Matters: How to Keep Kids Safe This Halloween

Always check your children’s Halloween candy to see if it has been tampered with, right? Stories of poisoned Halloween candy being randomly handed out to kids have circulated in October for years. In 1982, after the Tylenol tampering scare, candy poisoning hysteria hit its peak. Some hospitals even offered to X-ray Halloween candy for free to check for anything unusual.

We heard those rumors in our own youth, and it’s something we look for in our children’s candy hauls. You never know if one of your neighbors has decided to play the cruelest trick of all on the treats they hand out…

…except these stories aren’t true! There has never been a police report of randomly distributed poisoned Halloween candy. Although there have unfortunately been cases of specifically targeted poisoned Halloween candy and cases of harm befalling children after they’ve eaten their Halloween treats, none of these support the rumors of a devious homeowner purposely passing out modified candy on Halloween night. (Read this Snopes article if you do want a couple of chilling examples of Halloween harm…)

So if you don’t need to worry about poison or razorblades, everything’s just fine for October 31st, right? Well, not quite. It’s still a night that requires a diligent eye on the part of the parent. Here are some other items you can check for on the spookiest of holidays…

In the bag

  • Check nutrition labels on treats to make sure there are no ingredients that your child is allergic to.
  • Check goody bags for anything that could be a choking hazard, like small toys, hard candy and even gum.
  • Check to make sure your child isn’t hungry before venturing out on their candy hunt. They shouldn’t be eating any treats until they get back home so you can inspect them, and if they’re hungry, it will be harder for them to stay out of the candy.

On their costumes

  • Check to make sure your child can move in their costume, be it stepping up and down stairs or just walking without tripping over fabric.
  • Check to make sure you can see your child in the dark. Reflective strips can be attached to candy bags and their costume, or you can even find reflective costumes that look like any other normal costume—until the light shines on them, that is!
  • Check to make sure any products going on the skin, like face paint or makeup, are non-toxic and test them on a small patch of skin first prior to Halloween. If non-toxic and your child’s skin doesn’t react to it, face paint or makeup is a safe alternative to a mask, which can slip down and obstruct your child’s vision.

Out on the streets

  • Check for electronics. If a child is trick or treating without an adult, make sure they have a cell phone to use in case of an emergency. But along with the responsibility of having the phone is making sure they know to look up and pay attention to their surroundings while they’re walking. Have that talk!
  • Check both ways before crossing the street. Children are twice as likely to get hit by a car on Halloween night than on any other night. This caution goes for adults that are driving as well: Be extra cautious and on the lookout for any child darting out from behind a parked car. (And see the point above about kids looking down at cell phone screens—they can be oblivious!)

Back at home

  • Check your outside lighting, making sure your front porch is well lit as well as your yard and walkway.
  • Check your inside lighting. Indoor lights can make your home look more inviting for trick-or-treaters, as well as show any tricksters that someone is home.
  • Check for tripping hazards on your porch, in your yard and across your walkway. Even jack-o-lanterns should be placed out of the way to prevent tripping and so no loose fabric can get too close to a candle.

Although you may not be checking for poison or razor blades in your children’s treats, there are plenty of other safety factors to check before and after setting out on a candy quest. Have a happy and safe Halloween, practicing these safety tips and passing them on to your dinosaurs and storm troopers!

It’s Time for More Harping on Halloween Safety—for Good Reason!

If your kids are old enough that you’ve got a few Halloweens under your parental belt, you might not be thinking about Halloween safety. However, given that more child pedestrians are killed on Halloween than any other day of the year, it’s a good idea to do a quick review of the safety tips.

Below we offer some Halloween safety reminders for the kids if yours are trick-or-treating, and for your house if you have costume-clad kiddos coming to your door for those tasty treats.

Halloween safety for the kids
Halloween safety tips abound and much of it is commonsense, but it’s still worth reviewing—and talking to your kids about. According to Safekids.org, only one-third of parents talk to their kids about Halloween safety, even though three-quarters of those parents admit to having Halloween fears. Maybe these tips will make it easier to have those talks…

When it comes to the kids, there are two different topics to cover: costumes and what we’ll call street smarts.

Costume considerations—First off, let’s make them visible. Make your child easy to see by adding reflective tape or stickers to their costumes and candy bags. If the evening is chilly and they put coats on over their costumes, add the reflective tape to the coats. When looking at costumes with your kids, look for bright colors and avoid costumes that are dark or black. Glow sticks are a great way to make kids visible in the dark and could be made part of a costume with a little creativity.

Secondly, let’s make them safe. Avoid any costumes that are too big or baggy, or that drag on the ground possibly tripping your child. This applies to shoes too. Those huge clown feet shoes might be hilarious for the classroom costume party at school, but leave them home when going door-to-door as a trick-or-treater because they are a tripping hazard. Avoid masks or any oversize hats or accessories that can obstruct your child’s vision. And finally, consider the safety factor of any costume accessories like swords or light sabers and even toy guns. If there’s a chance something is dangerous, it has to be left at home.

Older kids going solo—You might think your older kids don’t need the same kind of reviews and reminders as the younger set, but they do, especially if trick-or-treating without you. Kids who are 12 or older and trick-or-treating without an adult should still be in a group at all times. No trick-or-treating alone! These kids should carry identification, including your phone number, and they should be equipped with a cell phone or at least a number to your cell phone. Make sure they have flashlights with new batteries, and make sure they know to only go to houses with outside lights on. These older kids should also be given a route to follow and a strict curfew. In addition, review street smarts with them (below) and review the safety of their costumes too, as many of the same tips apply.

Street smarts for all—Whether your kids are older and going it sans grownups or younger and holding your hand, everyone can use a good dose of commonsense reminders before venturing out onto the sidewalks. Remind your child to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street, and not to run ahead of you—especially not across the street. Remind them to use crosswalks and sidewalks at all times and not to cut through people’s yards. Everybody should be packing flashlights and keeping them on at all times for visibility.

Safety tips for your house
You want to keep your kids safe on Halloween, but you want to keep your little visitors safe too. So double check your outside lighting and look for any trip hazards that might cause a kid to fall while headed to or from your front door. In the dark a few days prior to Halloween, check to make sure that:

  • Your front porch is well lit, and your yard or walkway too if necessary.
  • Your sidewalk is clear of any tripping hazards.
  • Your yard is clear of tripping hazards, should an excited child decide to cut across the lawn.
  • Your stairs leading to your front door are also clear and well lit.

In addition, make sure you place jack-o-lanterns where they won’t become trip hazards, nor catch a child’s costume on fire should someone come by wearing a loose or flowing garb. See more tips for making your house a safe place to stop on Halloween night.

Finally, be a much more cautious driver if you must get behind the wheel on Halloween. Kids are going to be kids, darting in and out of parked cars, crossing the street without checking to see if it’s clear, wearing costumes that make them barely visible…so be ready and be wary!

5 Halloween Safety Tips: Make Your Home Safer and Your Kids Too

Halloween has become the second biggest holiday of the year in the U.S., behind only Christmas. Although we obviously enjoy Halloween, however, there are safety tips we should keep in mind whenever a holiday is based around kids walking door to door in the dark. Some of the obvious ones you already know, like don’t let them eat unwrapped candy and no trick or treating alone, right? But you can also make your home safer and your trick-or-treaters too by following these 5 Halloween safety tips.

Tip 1: Assess your house for safety
On Halloween night, you have your own kids to protect but also the visiting ones. Prior to that night, assess the safety of your house. Go outside when it’s dark and approach your house from the street like a trick-or-treater. Make sure your front porch is well lit, your sidewalk is clear of any obstacles, and your stairs leading to your front door are also clear. Be particularly careful about where you place lit jack-o-lanterns so they don’t become trip hazards. If there are bushes by the road that are dark, maybe string decorative lights on them or get solar powered lights to light them up.

Tip 2: Flaunt your home security system
It might also be a good time to make sure your home security signage is well lit too, since Halloween night means a lot of people will be passing by who aren’t necessarily known to you. Advertising the fact that your house is protected by a home security system is always a good idea, but perhaps even more so on this night.

Tip 3: Dress them for safety
On Halloween, it’s all about the costumes. (OK, really, it’s all about the candy, but costumes are a close second.) That means costumes must be safe to wear and safe to walk around in. Don’t let the toddler you talk you into heels to go with that princess dress! Make the kids wear sturdy shoes they won’t trip in, and hats that won’t slip forward to block their vision. Avoid masks or have the kids only put their masks on right as they ring the doorbell. Make sure clothes are short enough that they won’t trip on them while walking down the street but also make sure they can climb stairs in them too.

Tip 4: Dress them for visibility
Dress them in bright clothes or, better yet, reflective costumes. Yes, they exist! You can buy reflective costumes that look just like regular costumes. If that’s not an option, buy reflective tape and apply it to the costumes and the treat bags. However, if it’s a chilly or raining night, make sure they’re not putting on a dark jacket over a brightly colored costume. So many times out with my kids I would see other children in bright costumes covered up by dark jackets so they were nearly hidden in the dark. And if it’s the jacket that’s reflective, make sure they will keep their jackets on. Kids want to show off their costumes, and they’re likely to ditch a coat that covers them up. The best option is probably to make sure everything is reflective in some way!

A trick I did when my kids were young was to make the costumes roomy enough that the sweaters or coats or whatever they might need to bundle up with would fit underneath the costume. (This approach backfired one year, however, when one child wanted to be a “skinny pumpkin.” I made him a very roomy pumpkin costume with a jack-o-lantern face and he loved it. But Halloween was chilly that year, so I put layers of clothes on him first, and then the costume. By the time we were done, his costume was filled out and he started to cry because he was no longer a skinny pumpkin but a fat one!)

Tip 5: Light them up!
Finally, make sure everyone is carrying flashlights, flashlights, flashlights…did I mention flashlights? Kids love flashlights, making them a great tool for making kids easier to see in the dark. Yes, it means they have two things to carry instead of one (because there’s the all important treat bag too!), but flashlights are highly visible to passing cars. (Check all the batteries before you head out the door so you’re not suddenly in the dark when far from home.)

There’s also just plain commonsense, like constant adult supervision and no running out into the street, but any safety-minded parent will already be thinking like that. Just up your safety awareness a few degrees and be aware of the safety of your home and of your kids, and you should all be able to simply enjoy your night out…and some candy later, because after all that trick or treating, those kids owe you another chocolate peanut butter cup, right?!

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