The trees have dropped their leaves, and jack-o-lanterns have sprouted up on porches and in backyards. It's Halloween! Halloween is probably the most anticipated event by kids in the entire year! Halloween is all about spooky costumes and lots of parties… at school, at home, and with friends. Here are some important safety tips to help make Halloween safe and enjoyable for everyone!
Preparing for Halloween:
Costume materials should be fire resistant. Plan costumes that are bright so they can be easily seen. Retro-reflective materials are best. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
Give each child a flashlight to carry, with fresh batteries. Or, use battery-powered lanterns or accessories, such as flashing Halloween necklaces, and chemical glow-sticks.
Make sure costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement, or contact with flame. Shoes should be comfortable and should fit well.
Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.
Children should wear masks that do not interfere with vision. Masks can limit or block eyesight, which can be dangerous. Better yet, avoid masks altogether by wearing non-toxic and hypo-allergenic makeup or face-paint.
When shopping for costumes, wigs, and accessories, purchase only those with a label indicating they are flame resistant. Review with your children the principle of "Stop-Drop-Roll," should their clothes catch on fire. If your clothes catch on fire: STOP immediately, DROP to the ground, and ROLL over and over to extinguish the flames.
Reconsider using simulated knives, guns, or swords as part of your costume. If such props need to be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and that they are soft and flexible to prevent injury.
Eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Flower pots, low tree limbs, sprinklers, or garden hoses can be hazardous to young children rushing from house to house. Remove all these items.
Teach children their home phone number and to how call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost. Remind them that they can call 9-1-1 for free from any public phone.
On Halloween Day:
Eat a good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating. This will discourage children from filling up on Halloween treats before they are inspected.
If your kids are old enough to trick-or-treat on their own, agree on a specific time when they must return home. Set agreed-to boundaries with your children. Explain the importance of staying within them and arriving home on time.
Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects, and do not block exit doors. Ensure that combustible Halloween decorations such as crepe paper, cornstalks, and dried flowers are kept well away from sources of heat.
While children can help with the fun of designing a jack-o-lantern, carving should be left to the adults.
Keep candlelit jack-o-lanterns in a place out of reach from children, as well as away from landings and doorsteps where costumes can brush against the flame. If using a candle in your pumpkin, make sure it is placed on a sturdy table and away from any objects that may catch fire.
Confine or otherwise prepare household pets for an evening of frightful sights and sounds. Be sure that all dogs and cats are wearing collars and proper identification tags. Keep them away from the door and do not let them outside.
All young children should be accompanied by an adult. If your kids are trick-or-treating with a group of friends, hang back where you can still keep an eye on them. Tell you kids to only trick-or-treat in well known areas that are well lit and only go to houses that have the porch lights on. Never enter a stranger's house or car for a treat. Do not wander into unknown neighborhoods.
Trick-or-treaters should dress appropriately for the weather.
Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk close to the edge of the street or on the grass area (not across residents lawns) facing the on-coming traffic.
Remind kids of traffic and pedestrian safety rules, and that they should cross streets at corners or crosswalks and never cross between parked cars. Trick-or-treating should be made along one side of the street first and then the other.
When crossing a street, remove all masks or wigs that will interfere with your vision.
Remind your kids not to eat their candy until an adult at home has checked it. If it looks suspicious, the police should be contacted. Candy should not be eaten if the package is already opened. Small, hard pieces of candy are a choking hazard for young children.
Children should avoid stray animals.
Remind children to keep away from open fires and candles. If clothes catch on fire: STOP immediately, DROP to the ground, and ROLL over and over to extinguish the flames.
Make sure that children know how to call 9-1-1 or their local emergency number if they experience an emergency. Remind them they can call 9-1-1 from any public phone.
If you're worried about sending your kids out for Halloween, consider organizing a smashing Halloween party for the children in your neighborhood.
Have a happy and safe Halloween!