October 31st is a fun time for many kids, running around in costumes
and getting free candy. It's also a potentially dangerous time and
adults and children should be mindful of these safety tips to ensure a
safe and happy Halloween!
Safety Tips for Children and Their Costumes
these safety tips for picking out costumes can make trick or treating
safer for your children and for motorists on the road.
- make sure your costume does not impair vision. Many costumes include
masks but those masks don't always fit well. A mask that doesn't fit
well can block the child's vision and cause accidents such as tripping
down stairs or not seeing traffic when crossing the road.
- Costumes should also be easy to see in the dark. If the costume is
dark in nature, consider adding reflective materials such as tape strips
or even glow in the dark light wands. This will make seeing your child
in the dark a bit easier and will also help motorists see children more
easily as well.
Fire & Tripping Hazards - be
mindful of the materials used on your child's costume and limit how much
material flows freely and drags on the ground. Many pumpkins still use
candles to light up and you want to make sure whatever costume you
choose will not have dangling materials that can catch fire. You also
want to make sure that the costume allows the child to run without
tripping on their costume or getting tangled up.
Safe Trick or Treating and Candy Inspections
most children, yours may wish to dip into their bag and grab a few
sweet treats while doing all the hard work of trick or treating! It's
important to communicate why an adult must first inspect the candy
before a child eats it. There have been reports of candies being
tampered with and even poisoned or containing foreign objects.
Some safety tips for inspecting Halloween candy are:
- Home-made treats:
Only allow your child to eat home-made treats if you know the person
who gave out that candy treat. Even home-made treats with someone's
address and phone number should be avoided. If you don't know and trust
the person who made the treat, don't eat it.
- Inspect packaging to ensure it's intact. Items like chips will be filled with air. If there is no air in the package it may have been tampered with so discard it.
- Unwrapped candies:
Certainly not too common anymore as many people realize they are not
safe to eat. If your child receives any unwrapped items like chocolates,
toffees etc, discard them. Even if they weren't tampered with, they are
not very clean without protective wrapping.
The best way to
inspect candy is to lay out a sheet in the living room after trick or
treating is done and sort the candy with your child if he/she is old
enough to understand. Explain what items are not acceptable and why
(because they can make you sick etc.) and throw out any questionable
items. If in doubt - throw it out.
Motorist Safety at Halloween
a teen-ager or adult you may be busy running around, going to your
evening job or heading out to your own Halloween party. You are driving
in the dark and likely expect kids to be up and down the streets but be
sure to drive extra carefully and watch for surprises.
kids have reflective clothing and the excitement of the night may have
some kids running right across the road without looking. It may be their
fault for not looking or their parents for not watching them but if you
are not careful, you will be the one to hit them and live with the
guilt. Slow down on Halloween night and pay extra attention!
Going to Strangers' Houses on Halloween
not the best message for our little kids: Go knock on a stranger's
door, say hi and accept candy! This contradicts everything we try and
teach our children about strangers! Explain Halloween and why it's
special and why this type of behavior is acceptable ONLY on Halloween.
Explain the holiday and that it's safe to do when the child is with
mommy or daddy, but not when alone.
Regardless of age, make sure
your child(ren) know to never, EVER, go inside a stranger's house! Even
if they look nice or if they are friends of the family.
Sometimes, home owners will say "Oh, look at your costumes, how cute, come in while I grab the candy bowl."
It's polite and acceptable for children to say "No thanks, I'll just wait here (outside.) "
is more common than you may think, for adults to do questionable things
on Halloween night! Personally, as a child I remember many home-owners
asking us to come inside out of the cold while they grabbed the
Halloween candy bowl. I've had houses where some people tried taking
photos of the kids and even one house that had a tripod and video
recorder set up to tape all the kids coming to his door (creepy).
an older child going out with my friends I also recall trick or
treating homes that had parties underway and being offered cigarettes
and alcohol and even being invited inside to party. I came from what
most would consider a small-town, so be aware of these potential dangers
and make sure your children know what to do in these scenarios. They
can happen anytime, anywhere to anyone. If your child things someone has
behaved inappropriately encourage them to make note of the address and
phone you (or come home and tell you).
Peanut Safety at Halloween
children are allergic to peanuts but Halloween can still be a fun time
for them. The company, Nestle, for example is all peanut-free. Nestle
makes a variety of chocolate bars like Coffee Crisp and Kit Kat and ice
creams. Go through your child's candy to remove anything that may
contain peanuts in them.
When choosing your own Halloween candy to
give out, keep the nut allergy in mind and try and stick with items
that are peanut-free. If you wish to have various brands of candy,
consider keeping a nut-free bowl of candy for those special requests!
for your child with nut-allergies, encourage him to ask for nut-free
brands (such as Nestle) if she/he sees that some are available. If the
nut allergy is severe, which often it is, be sure your child has their
Epi-Pen with them and that someone they are with knows how to use it and
who to call in case of emergency.