Happy Halloween!!! For many families, Halloween is one of the most exciting nights for kids and parents alike. Kids can be scary, cute or even a glimmer of what they might want to be when they grow up. Even many parents get into it. Who doesn’t love to play dress-up?? I personally love giving out treats at the door, seeing all the little kids with big smiles come to the door, excited to see what you will be putting into their sac.
However, there is one part about Halloween that I’m sure no one likes. Every year it seems the news ends up having to report about a could-have-been-avoided incident.
So, I have put together this list of tips to keep in the back of your mind this Halloween – many seem obvious of course, but still, a refresher never hurt!
- Keep an eye out while driving, even earlier in the evening. Kids are very excited and that means that they may not be paying as close attention as normal. Motorists need to keep an eye out, especially as younger kids & toddlers may lose their parents hand and run out into the street without a moments notice. They also may not be all using the crosswalks, so any street/intersection will automatically become a pedestrian crossing. Pay close attention when backing out of your driveway as kids will be walking up both sides of the street. This becomes increasingly important as the sun goes down, as many costumes are tough to notice in the dark.
- Add reflective tape on your kids costumes (back & front). To help out those motorists above, add reflective tape to make sure your kids are seen in the dark.
- Have an emergency plan! Whether you are taking your kids out or they are old enough to go without an adult, a plan in case of emergency or separation is key. The sidewalks and streets can get very busy and it’s very easy to excited kids to wonder off and get separated from you or a sibling/friend. Make sure they know exactly what to do. If the youngest child going out is not old enough to understand what to do in an emergency, a parent/adult should be taking them out, not an older sibling (as responsible as that sibling may be). Also, kids should never go out on their own, no matter how old they are. Put a buddy system in place – send them out with another neighbourhood child their age, or if there are none in your area, have them invite a friend over to trick-or-treat together.
- Keep costumes practical. If the costume is too long, make sure to hem or cut it shorter to prevent a fall. Instead of a mask, opt for makeup instead as those masks can be very difficult to see out of.
- Go over your “Stranger-danger” talk with the kids. Letting your kids go door to door to talk with people they may not know might be a little confusing and against what you have been teaching them all along. Even if you are going out with them, it’s important to remind them of the danger of strangers. Letting them know that being kind to the neighbours and small chit-chat at the door is fine, that comments from other adults passing by “oh, what a scary ghost” are fine but still reminding them of what is not appropriate conversation (such as a promise of more candy if they follow someone to another area, etc) and what they should yell if someone grabs or touches them inappropriately. We’d like to think that these things won’t happen, and there’s no need to be paranoid about it, but a quick little chat before heading out the door is a nice teaching experience that hopefully won’t be used but is still necessary.
- Go through all the treats & candy. Yes, when we grew up, we realized that part of the reason why our parents did this was so they could snag some of our treats for themselves (haha) and we will probably do the same. Still, they had our best interest in mind as they were looking for signs of tampering. Although rare that it happens, we still need to look. To be blunt, there are some really sick people out there but they don’t “look” like people who would want to hurt our kids so we just don’t know. We would love to trust our neighbours but unless you are very close, we all still need to be careful. It doesn’t take long to inspect candy. Look over the packages quickly for rips, tears or pinholes. Feel the package for any foreign objects. If it’s not factory sealed, don’t risk it. I should also mention, this goes for non-food related treats as well. Two years ago, my son received a a small colouring book in his bag. While I was going through his loot, my husband took a quick peek in the book, only to see that inside was written “Halloween is Satan’s holiday”. Not appropriate for my then 5 year old.
Obviously lets just all keep safe this Halloween – try not to gorge TOO much on that confiscated candy 😉