Before you get too wrapped up in the excitement of candy and costumes, it’s important to take some safety precautions for you and your family – a safe Halloween ensures everyone has a great time!
Even if you plan to start trick-or-treating early, there’s a good chance you’ll be out after nightfall. With crowds of people and darkened streets, visibility is important: take every possible step to make sure kids are visible to passing cars and people. Wrap reflective or glow-in-the dark tape around the arms, collar, or chest of their costume to catch passing headlights. You may also attach small flashing lights and give them miniature flashlights to hold.
Bring costumes up to scratch by making sure they – along with wigs and other accessories – are made of flame-retardant materials. They should be labeled as such on the packaging, but in case they aren’t, look for materials such as nylon and polyester, which are less likely to catch fire if they brush across a lit candle or Jack o’ Lantern. You should also make sure they fit properly: sleeves and hems shouldn’t be too long, since they impede movement and are tripping as well as fire hazards. Shoes should fit well too; the comically large clown shoes may be the perfect finishing touch, but they can be more dangerous to a small child walking around in the dark.
If you’re hosting a party, get all tripping hazards out of the way, including extension cords and breakable objects. Keep all open flames, including those in Jack o’ Lanterns, up high when they won’t catch on fabric or get knocked over. Dry ice is a great spooky addition to the décor, but be sure to handle it according to package instructions and keep it in a spot where little hands can’t get to it.
Kids under the age of 12 shouldn’t be out trick-or-treating without adult supervision. Older kids who go out alone should stay in a group. It may seem simplistic, but remind them to look both ways before the crossing the street, to stay on the sidewalk, and to walk, not run, between houses.
The responsibility doesn’t just lie with the trick-or-treaters: drivers need to be safe while navigating the streets, too! Drive very slowly and watch carefully for children who may dart out unexpectedly. Be especially careful around alleys and driveways, and eliminate any distractions inside the car to focus solely on driving.