Once upon a time, Halloween had more tricks than treats. Pranksters roamed the streets, making plenty of noise and mischief. Some towns actually appointed special police to make sure things didn’t get out of hand.
Today’s annual costume-and-candy extravaganza probably seems tame by comparison. Still, Halloween safety is as important as ever and not that tricky to achieve.
Choose a fitting disguise. Help kids pick costumes that:
• Fit well and won’t make them trip.
• Are made of flame retardant materials.
• Aren’t too dark and have reflective tape for nighttime visibility.
• Include light sticks or a flashlight with fresh batteries.
Accessorize with nontoxic makeup (which won’t block vision like a mask might) and sturdy, well-fitting shoes. Make sure any objects that are part of the costume, such as swords, are soft and flexible.
Follow the safest treat trail. Kids of all ages should know—and practice—these door-to-door rules:
• Stay with the group. For kids under 12 years old, that group should include a parent or other trusted adult.
• Walk, don’t run.
• Never go inside a house or apartment without a parent.
• Stay on sidewalks, and avoid dark areas and all alleys.
• Cross streets in groups and only at crosswalks.
• Save all treats so they can be inspected at home before they’re eaten.
If kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without an adult, insist they carry cellphones and IDs, follow a predetermined route in a familiar area, and meet their curfew.
At evening’s end, the best treat goes to parents: peace of mind that Halloween can be both safe and fun.
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; American College of Emergency Physicians; Consumer Product Safety Commission