Trick or Treat!: Halloween Safety Tips
This is such a wonderful time of year, the seasonal festivities have begun, the weather is crisp, and kids are putting together their Halloween costumes in preparation for the big night! Of course, there are always a few things for parents to be concerned about too! With the increasing threats and dangers that seem to be waiting around every corner, many parents are concerned about their children trick or treating on Halloween. Some have decided to skip the activity while others search for safer ways to participate in it. Although it is very sad that children can no longer enjoy something as simple as trick or treating, the reality of the situation is that parents have every reason to be concerned. Here are some suggestions for how to stay safe this Halloween.
Trick or Treating
The most important rule to remember is that no child should ever trick or treat alone. An adult needs to be clearly visible as any house is approached. Even in neighborhoods where most of the people are aware of others living there, it can still be dangerous to leave children unattended. When kids are trick or treating, make sure that they never go inside a stranger's house. This includes people that they might know, but do not know very well. Again, if an adult is accompanying trick or treaters, the risk is significantly lowered. Do not assume that a person is not dangerous because of their actions; often times, threats are disguised, especially on Halloween. All candy that is gathered from trick or treating should be inspected before anyone is allowed to eat it. One of the easiest ways to ensure that the food is safe to eat is to avoid trick or treating at houses or neighborhoods that are unfamiliar. Try to stay with the friends and neighbors that you know and skip the houses that belong to people you do not know. If any of the treats are not wrapped or look or smell suspicious, no one should eat them. Even something that seems harmless, like an apple, may have been exposed to any number of dangerous substances. Homemade treats are also suspect - there's always the possibility that the person who made them was sick or did not observe good hygiene. Stick with wrapped, recognizable items.
Traffic safety is another important aspect of Halloween night. Children must be extra careful when crossing streets by following the lights and crosswalks. Adults should be able to see the children they are supervising at all times. Do not allow the kids to get too far ahead or behind, and prevent yourself from being distracted.
Halloween and Older Kids
For teens and older children, both trick or treating and Halloween parties can be fun and exciting. No matter where they are planning to go, be sure to find out exactly where your kids will be throughout the night. Emphasize curfews and stay in contact with them. If they are driving, check the fuel tank before they leave so that they will not run out of gas. Also, talk to your children about appropriate behavior and make it clear that certain activities, such as throwing eggs, vandalism, or hurting animals is unacceptable.
Halloween and Adults
As parents, you have a responsibility to protect your children. This includes exercising caution on Halloween in a variety of ways. Select a costume that is fire proof and any masks need to feature eye holes that are wide enough for peripheral vision. Props should not be sharp and should be carried in the correct position. Teach your children not to accept rides from strangers and other necessary precautions. If they will be at a friend's house or with a friend's parent, make it a point to meet therm. You must know who your children are with and where they are on Halloween, and a quick phone call every hour or so is a good idea. In general, the more knowledge you have about your children's activities, the safer it will be for them. Check public records for any registered criminals in the area and do not go anywhere near those houses. Local malls or shopping centers sometimes have trick or treating events where children can go around to the stores inside. Besides being a lot safer, kids usually get much more candy this way. However, you should still inspect every piece of candy before allowing it to be eaten. And of course, have fun! Many children grow up to have extremely fond memories of this holiday, and while safety is certainly the top priority, don't let it stop you from having a wonderful night out. Happy Halloween!