With Halloween just weeks away, kids and parents everywhere are planning their costumes for the big night. While kids can let their imagination run wild, parents should give a little more thought to making costumes as safe as possible.
Even if you plan to start your trick or treating early, there’s a good chance you’ll be out after dark, and with crowds of kids running around, it can be hard to keep track of everyone. Light-colored costumes are easier to see in the dark, but if you have a little witch or vampire on your hands you can use reflective or glow in the dark tape to help keep them visible to both you and passing cars: wrap it around a sleeve or stick a strip on the front or back of the shoulders. You can also purchase a small flashing light to clip on to the material.
Make it as easy as possible for kids to see and hear in their costumes. Masks can be difficult for small children, blocking their eyes and mouth, especially if they don’t fit very well; face paint makes a great alternative. Wigs, beards, hats, scarves, and other headpieces shouldn’t cover the eyes, ears, or mouth either.
Candles and open flames from Jack-o-lanterns pose a fire hazard, so when purchasing costumes, look for those made of flame-retardant material; they’ll be marked accordingly on the packaging. If you’re going the homemade route, use fabrics like polyester and nylon, which are more resistant to flame than other materials. A little bit of tailoring can go a long way towards safety, too: adjust hemlines and sleeves to an appropriate length to avoid tripping hazards and allow full use of the hands. The less excess fabric left to billow around, the less chance there is that it will catch on something or catch fire.
The accessories kids carry with their costumes matter too. Props such as swords or wands should be made of soft or flexible materials like foam or certain plastics – this can prevent accidents and injuries in dark and crowded streets. Accessories can also be used to make an outfit safer: wrap them in reflective tape to add even more visibility, or provide them with a flashlight to carry.
Have a fun, safe Halloween!