Halloween is always a fun time for “kids of all ages.” Here are some tips to keep the festival memorable, enjoyable and above all safe:
• Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
• Make sure that shoes fit well, and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement, or contact with flame.
• Look for “flame resistant” on the costume labels. Wigs and accessories should also clearly indicate this.
• Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives to masks. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of your child’s skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises or allergic reactions on the big day. Toxic ingredients have been found in cosmetics marketed to teens and tweens.
• Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes and blocking vision.
• Avoid any sharp or long swords, canes, or sticks as a costume accessory. Your child can easily be hurt by these accessories if he or she stumbles or trips.
• Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” getting decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
• Never allow small children to carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting. For the best control while carving, adults should use a small pumpkin saw (sold with other Halloween goods) in small strokes, directing the blade away from themselves and others.
• Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
• Do not place candlelit pumpkins on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.
On the trick-or-treat trail
• Always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home and get flashlights with batteries for everyone.
• Only go to homes with a porch light on and, ideally, a well-lit pathway.
• Never enter a home or car for a treat. Notify law enforcement authorities immediately about any suspicious or unlawful activity.
• Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost or are prone to wander.
• Know how to reduce your child’s risk of a pedestrian injury?the most common injury to children on Halloween.
• Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
• Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
• Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
• Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.