Written by Page McNall

Halloween can be a fun holiday for kids, but a worrisome one for parents. The scary creatures, silly costumes, decorations and treats can be frightening and even dangerous for young kids. Parents are concerned about their children’s safety, whether they are out in the neighborhood or back home with bags of candy. Remember these Halloween health and safety tips before you and your kids head out to have a fun and safe Halloween, making your memories happy ones.

Costumes

Make sure your kids dress up safely. Costumes should be made of flame resistant material so your children are not in danger near open candles and burning jack-o-lanterns. Choose light colored or bright colored costumes with reflective tapes or arm bands to improve visibility on dark nights. Your kids’ costume should not be too baggy or they may run the risk of falling or tripping over the extra fabric. Use make-up instead of masks. Masks can obstruct a child’s view and may be hot to wear. If you are not going trick or treating with your child, be sure to put his emergency information in his clothes or even on a bracelet. It is a good idea to send him out with a flashlight, watch and cell phone.  You should know about the details where he will be going, who he is going with and when he will be heading home.

Around the house

Some parents transform their homes into eerie scenes. If you are planning to do so, make sure your home and neighborhood is safe for children. Keep the path leading up to your door free of obstacles and well lit for the little ones. Turn on exterior lights to welcome trick-or-treaters. Consider using battery-operated lanterns or chemical light sticks instead of candles in decorations.  Open flames may burn children or catch fire to costumes. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Do not overload extension cords. Keep your pets inside the house so they do not inadvertently scare, jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.  Sure, I know, you dog would never do that…but trick or treaters don’t look like normal kids either.  They may growl or yell in playing the part of their character, which would startle your pet.

Trick or treating

Accompany your child until he is old enough to go out with a friend. Children who go alone are more vulnerable to injury and bullying by older children. If your child is old enough to go out with a friend without the parents, make sure they are going in a group because they are safer in numbers.  It is a good ideas to know about the routes they will be going. Remind them of traffic safety rules, and that they should not cross streets kitty-corners, rather they should only use cross walks and stay on the side walks. Teach your child to recognize the places along his route where he can obtain help, such as the Fire Station, Police Station, your church, or a trusted neighbor. Tell them to accept treats only at the door. Every child must be cautious of strangers and pets they do not know. Tell your kids not to eat any of the treats until they return home and have you inspect them first. Is is sad, but there are just too many instances of people tampering with the candy they give out to trick or treaters. I have read reports of people inserting razor blades or poison.  So, play it safe and check the candy out before your kids take a bite. Discard any homemade or unwrapped treats or any treats that appear to have been tampered with. Remove any choking hazards for young children, including hard candies, peanut candies and small toys. If your child has food allergies, such as peanut allergy, remove any candy that may include those foods. If you are driving a vehicle on Halloween night, please be especially careful; drive slowly and be observant for kids dashing from house to house.

We really like the CDC mnemonic Safe Halloween.  To learn more please visit http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/

S

Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

A

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

F

Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

E

Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

H

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don’t run from house to house.

A

Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

L

Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

L

Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

O

Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

W

Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

E

Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

E

Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don’t stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

N

Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This blog is for information purpose only.  To learn more about the mnemonic “Safe Halloween” which was reprinted, please visit the source at the CDC website http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/