By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
It is fun to see homes all decked out in both Halloween and autumn décor, signaling the end of one season and the start of another. For young children, Halloween excitement surrounding both fun and CANDY is building whether they go trick-or-treating or attend parties.
It is up to parents and caregivers to be extra vigilant when it comes to keeping children safe during these festivities. It goes without saying that an adult should accompany young children when they go trick-or-treating. Some towns organize parades or Halloween parties sponsored by civic groups or school organizations. These are also fun for children, eliminating the need to go door-to-door. However, if your child will be going out on Halloween night, here are some tips from the U.S. Government General Services Administration and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that parents should keep in mind.
When shopping for a costume, try to coax your child into choosing a brightly colored costume that is visible and that will make it easier for cars to see them on dark roads. For darker colored costumes, stick some reflective tape on the costume to increase visibility. Also put tape on the tote bags they are using to hold their candy. Make sure they are carrying a flashlight or glow stick. Use face paint instead of a mask that might obstruct their view. Before the holiday, test all makeup to insure the child is not allergic to its ingredients. Avoid costumes that are below their shoe line or have flowing capes or skirts that might cause them to trip. Make sure your child’s Halloween costume is flame resistant in the event a cape or part of the costume does come in contact with a flame. (Some homes might have candles inside of carved pumpkins on the front porch or steps.)
It is tempting for children to eat the treats they are receiving along the way, but try to advise them not to do this. Discard any candy that looks opened or partially unwrapped or contains homemade goods if you do not personally know the giver. It seems such a shame to discard homemade items, but it’s better to err on the side of safety rather than worry about wasting food.
Perhaps an even better option might be to give out gift certificates. Some fast food establishments offer really low cost coupon booklets with coupons for free cones, cookies or small burgers. This is a smart marketing idea, as the restaurants know that parents will also come and order a meal for themselves or older children when they hand in the Halloween coupon for a free item.
While on the subject of checking the treats children receive, parents of very young children should remove items that contain choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys before the child gets hold of them.
Pedestrian safety is vital and children should be cautioned against running out between parked cars or across lawns and yards where ornaments, furniture, clotheslines or lawn sprinklers present dangers. Sturdy shoes or sneakers are a must, and mommy’s high heels should be avoided for little girls’ dress-up costumes.
Wishing everyone a safe, fun and Happy Halloween!