Young or Old, There's Nothing Like the Excitement of Halloween!
Along with the excitement of the night come dangers that parents and trick-or-treaters need to be aware of. In all the excitement, children and adults tend to forget how to make October 31st, Halloween, a safe and memorable event. First, let’s take a look at Halloween costumes. Many variations of costumes can be found online and range from Indiana Jones to Pirates. Your child might like to be Tinkerbell or a Christmas Angel. Sure, it’s hard to tell a child, especially an older one, what they can and can’t wear out trick-or-treating, but if you want to keep them safe, they need to be told. But don’t wait until Halloween night to alert them, talk to them and check out their costumes days in advance of them heading off into ghoul land.
For example, check costumes and make sure they’re fire retardant, and preferably polyester, because cotton tends to burn fast. A primary cause of danger relates directly to the child’s costume. If it’s too long, the child can trip and fall, injuring himself and worse. If the costume is dark, such as a Darth Vader outfit, drivers are likely not to see a child darting across the road unaware of traffic in all the excitement of the night. More children are hit by cars on dark, Halloween nights, than any other night of the year. To protect your child from not being seen by drivers, hang a glow stick around your child’s neck, hand them a flash light as they go out the door, or give them glow in the dark stickers on clothing. It’s all about being seen.
Candles, Pumpkins, and Lanterns, Oh My!
This is what makes Halloween special—the glow of the fire on a dark night. Jack-0-Lanterns winking in the autumn cold, welcoming you out on what has become one of the highlighted festivals of the year, are what make this night so magical. Keep the fires burning, but set them out of reach of children who will be stepping onto your porch, along with other children who most likely won’t be paying any attention to the fire. According to Fire Department safety tips, more than 100 people die each year as a result of clothes catching on fire, and 800 homes each year catch fire due to candles and other burning objects during Halloween.
Older kids being dropped off at Halloween parties should be reminded to locate exits at the home in case of fire. And no one should be allowed to walk around with lit candles, even if it is part of the costume.
The Spooky Night Can Spook Your Pets.
Keep pets safe by putting them in another room, or at least not near the door where trick-or-treaters will be knocking. Between the costumes and excitement of the night, your dog could nip at a youngster. Your cat could disappear never to be seen again, and pets often come up missing on this night. Whether you have a fenced in yard or not, it’s not a good idea to keep the pets outside. Just like the Fourth of July, dogs aren’t prepared for this kind of evening.
It’s All About Candy, Ghouls and Fun.
You can’t help but mention Halloween and think of chocolaty treats, suckers that last all day, caramel apples and popcorn balls. Traditionally apples were given as treats for trick-or-treaters because the holiday comes in the middle of apple harvest, but this tradition has waned in light of widespread rumors about pins and razor blades being buried deep into the apple. Although rare, it is still a good idea for parents to check through their children’s bag of candy before letting them eat any. Remind them before heading out the door not to eat anything until they get home. There is no need to have the candy x-rayed, as was done during the peak of the Halloween scare, but looking it over is a good idea. And remember, if your kids are staying home this year and playing the traditional game of dunking for apples, be safe, stick around and make sure no one gets hurt.
Take time out to talk to your children before they go out in search of candy. Each evening remind them of the dangers of running in a crowd, pushing and shoving to get candy, and about staying with the group of friends they went out with—because no child should go out alone on Halloween night. Have them try on their costumes days in advance, before taking off into the black of night, in case they need to be hemmed. If the costume is designed with a long tail or other type of attachment that could cause tripping, see if there’s another way to make the costume look good without the tail. Long fringe or tails could potentially cause tripping.
Masks should allow children to see what’s coming, but all so often rubber or full-head masks block the vision of oncoming cars. Take a few minutes to watch while your child wears the mask to see if he can see what’s beside him. Better yet, do away with the mask and paint the child’s face. Some of the most original costumes have included a painted face, which is a lot less dangerous. And remember, shoes should be comfortable and safe, not wobbly and high-heeled.
Enjoy This Night of Fright For Many Years to Come!
Once the safety rules have been discussed, the dog or cat put in a safe place, glow sticks and flashlights attached to children, and masks checked for visibility, go off with your children and have fun, knowing you have made them as safe as they can be. For older kids heading off with their friends, remind them of their curfew and ask them to check in periodically. Today with cell phones, it’s much easier to keep track of your child. By having him, or her, check in, you know they’re safe, and you and your children will share the Halloween memories for years to come.
Avoid making mistakes this Halloween. Be safe and happy while trick-or-treating.
About the author: Angela Lytle is a self-employed mother of four and publisher of Christmas Decorations Online, a website featuring holiday items from artificial Christmas trees for your home to outdoor Christmas lights to brighten your season.
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