We're rapidly approaching Halloween, parents! If you haven't already, it's time to get a move-on with those costume choices. I've already spotted a few trunk-or-treats that will happen as early as next week, and I'm planning to take my toddler on a "practice run". Does he need the extra candy? No. I do.
In all seriousness, Halloween should be a time of carefree fun for kids. But, for many reasons, it can be a season of worry for parents across the board. What other time of year do we send our kids, in costumes, to a stranger's front door? Don't we tell our kids not to take candy from strangers - and then we tell them that it's suddenly okay to do so once a year? Without going overboard, there are a few simple, subtle ways to keep safety at the forefront of YOUR Halloween plans. That way, your kid can keep FUN as the focus of theirs!
Around The Home
Before we focus on your kiddos going out into their brave new world, let's consider the dozens (or even hundreds!) of kids coming to your front door this Halloween! It's easy to take a few simple precautions to keep parents at ease and kids secure.
First, make sure your front entrance is well-lit. Yes, it's fun to be spooky! But be sure any stairs are well-lit, and kids aren't navigating tripping hazards in the dark. While you're at it, make sure your front railing is tight and secure, so no one can fall through it if they do take a tumble.
Perhaps you could try LED flameless candles in the place of old-fashioned candles in your Jack-O-Lanterns! Better yet, try some feature lighting and a few drawn-on silly pumpkin faces. Drawing faces with marker is safer for little ones than trying to carve through a thick pumpkin rind!
Out On The Road
Did you know that, on average, kids are twice as likely to get hit by a moving car on Halloween than any other day? I had no idea, either! It makes sense - more kids are moving about after dark, perhaps unaccompanied, and easily excited. Throw in a bit of a sugar rush, and it's easy to see how a kid could dart out in front of a car without using proper caution.
When you're driving, be mindful of corners, curbs, and sidewalks. Watch for moving figures, and be prepared to stop quickly. As a trick-or-treater, make sure you're staying out of the road and using the buddy system to cross streets - at a crosswalk, of course!
Even better, have kids carry a glow stick or flashlight to help them see better and to be better seen. You can even add some reflective tape to your little one's costume!
Safety In Numbers
When in doubt, don't go out! Okay, maybe I made that up to justify my socially-anxious-habit of cancelling plans. No kids under age 12 should be trick-or-treating alone (perfect excuse to whip out that Tanya Harding leotard, mom!) . If your kids are mature enough to trick-or-treat unsupervised, make sure you know their route. Tell them to stick together in groups of friends, stay in well-lit and popular areas, and generally close to home.
For little tiny tots, perhaps a supervised trunk-or-treat is in order! They're a great, safe way to ensure everyone has a Happy Halloween - without worrying about staying up past bedtimes, traffic in the streets, or stranger danger.
Treat Or Trick
A veteran mom gave me her Halloween safety "trick" - take a snack candy bag with, so kids can pick from safe foods as they collect their trick-or-treats! Since food allergies can cause serious, life-threatening reactions, it's best to sort through the treats your little one receives on Halloween.
My own son has a peanut allergy, so I have to steal all of his Reese's and Snickers while he sleeps off his sugar rush. Oh, woe is me! If I'm being honest, I kind of wish people would just stop offering peanut-y treats.
At my own house, we put a Teal Pumpkin at the door. This is a signal to parents that our treats will be peanut or major-allergen free! It feels great to be part of a trend that keeps all kids safe on Halloween!
What other tips for a safe Halloween should I add to my list? How are you making Halloween fun for everyone? Tweet your safety tips to me on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3 with #HaveASafeHalloween