There is nothing quite as cute as opening your door on Halloween to see a tiny ghost, a prancing ballerina, or a scary miniature witch at your front door. Halloween is an exciting time for kids and parents, but it can also be a night filled with hidden dangers.
Now, we don’t want to scare you away from Halloween. On the contrary, we want to make sure that you, your kids, and your pets have the best night possible. The days of letting kids roam the streets alone for hours are long gone, but it’s still possible to let your kids get into trick-or-treating with some simple guidelines.
Safe but Fun Halloween Costumes
Your kids likely know what or who they want to dress up as for Halloween already. Now is the time to sit down and talk about their costume so you’re not left scrambling on October 30th and dealing with a teary-eyed trick-or-treater.
- If you’re buying a costume, pay close attention to the fabric and materials. Many costumes are not made of flame-retardant material. As well, some costumes contain billowing capes and long skirts – think about candles and other flames when choosing such a costume.
- Think about the length of the costume. A long skirt, cape, or scarves can make it hard for young children in particular to walk easily. If your child insists on a long skirt or cape, make a belt or sash that you can use to tuck the long material into when out walking from door-to-door.
- It’s at Halloween that swords, knives, pitchforks, and other accessories come out. Think about your child’s ability to easily carry these items. Make sure they are made of soft material and do not pose a hazard.
- Visibility is key. Even if your child wants to dress up as Black Panther or Batman, be creative and attach some material that glows to the bottom of the costume or even some colorful blinking lights. Attach adhesive glow-in-the-dark tape to the treat bag or look for a treat bag that has built-in flashing lights. Some kids really like wearing a glow-in-the-dark bracelet or headband – this can be a good addition to a costume and provides some much-needed visibility.
- Masks and make-up are an essential part of any Halloween costume. Make sure your child’s mask fits properly and that he or she can easily breathe, talk, and see while wearing it. For make-up, test it out a week or so in advance to make sure your child does not react to the make-up and that it’s easy to remove.
- Think about the weather. Depending on where you live, your child’s costume might need to be worn over top of a winter jacket or work well with rubber boots. Plan ahead and maybe have the back-up ghost costume just in case the weather changes last minute.
We all have a favorite Halloween costume from our trick or treating days, share your favorite costume with us on Facebook. If you have a photo – even better!
So Much Halloween Candy
Let’s face it, Halloween is really all about the candy. Most kids these days are not out to play tricks – they want the good stuff. It’s important that you set some guidelines around your children’s Halloween candy.
- Talk to your kids about not eating any Halloween candy until they get home. Remind them that part of the fun is separating the candy into piles at the kitchen table after a night out and then trading with their siblings.
- There is some candy that you may not want your children to have. Gum or hard candy are not appropriate for young children – it’s okay to be that parent that takes these items out of the Halloween stash to ensure their safety.
- Think about how you’ll store the Halloween candy. Will you make it accessible to your kids or keep it stored securely and hand it out after supper or on the weekend? This is up to you and your family. There is some candy that can be ideal for baking and other desserts – look online for recipes that use chocolate bars or even sour candies – a great way to use up Halloween candy.
- Be aware of candy that is not wrapped or is homemade. Most of it will be safe, but taking extra caution is a good idea. If your child does receive homemade treats, the best approach is to allow them only if you know the person who has made them.
Do you have a favorite Halloween candy? One of our AHCC Research team members likes those rock-hard toffees that only come out at Halloween. Tell us about your favorite Halloween candy – and of course how you plan to convince your kids to share these with you.
Safe Streets for the Best Halloween Treats
The days of letting your kids roam the streets alone on Halloween night are long gone.
- Choose neighborhoods that you know. Some communities have special designated trick or treating streets that are fully decorated and well-lighted to ensure safe walking.
- Stick to the sidewalks. Often the excitement of the night sees kids wandering on to the road – remember there are still cars out on the street and it can be hard to see little ghosts and goblins.
- Walk with your children. Depending on the age of your kids, you might want to walk up to the door with your trick-or-treater or feel comfortable standing a few feet back.
- Do not let your children enter any houses.
- Look for community events such as a Halloween party at a community hall or a Halloween party at a local park. This can be a fun way for young children to experience the fun of Halloween without the tiring walking.
Think about how tired your child will be after a day at school or daycare. Try to get out before the real tiredness sets in and your child is too wiped out to enjoy the night. Most people expect kids to start ringing doorbells in the early evening.
Keep Your Pets Happy and Safe on Halloween
Many cats and dogs are easily spooked by the ringing doorbell or by kids making lots of noise outside. Keep your pets contained indoors so they don’t sneak out when the door is opened. Some kids are afraid of dogs, so think about this and consider keeping your dog away from the front door.
Definitely do not let your pets eat any of the Halloween candy. Keep an eye out for sneaky cats and dogs who manage to help themselves to the treat bowl.
As you can tell, the entire AHCC Research team loves Halloween. We want you and your entire family to have a safe and fun night out. If we missed some tips that you think can help others, feel free to share them on our Facebook page. Trick-or-treat!