Halloween safety tips: Keeping your trick-or-treater safeThousands of children go trick-or-treating every year with no incident, but I’m a mom who’s big on the ‘what if’ factor. I’m not big on taking chances with the most important person in my life and if there’s a possibility of a ‘what if’ gone wrong, then I’ll err on the side of caution. With Halloween right around the corner, it’s important that we’re talking with our kiddos about the rules of Halloween so that they can have an evening that is fun, but safe.
Before diving headlong into our list of Halloween safety tips, I recommend visiting HalloweenMagazine.com with your children to take the quiz (play the game) that brings a more hands on element to the safety talk.
First, it has you read the Safety Guidelines and Rules for Halloween before taking you to the start of The Official Halloween Safety Quiz Game. Let me tell you why this game is so beneficial:
- During the game your child is given a scenario and the opportunity to choose the safest response. If they answer correctly then they’re told “Good Job!” accompanied by a brief explanation why they were right.
- If they respond with an unsafe response they get “Boogeyman Error!” with an explanation why that was not a safe choice. They are then redirected back to the question to try again.
This game is especially telling with your youngest trick-or-treaters. When I first discovered this I had my (at the time) 4-year-old niece play the game and later had my daughter complete it and both my sister and I were dismayed to discover that both girls missed a crucial question in the game that plays into everyday safety. The scenario is: A nice looking older man approaches the child asking for help to find his kitten so it doesn’t get run over or hurt. What do you do? Do you help him or do you tell him no and walk away? Both girls initially chose to help him find the kitten, which opened the door to a very important discussion.
Moving on, let’s talk about those specific Trick-or-Treating safety tips to discuss with our children:
- Young children should always be accompanied by an adult. Remind them to stay with you – this is an evening rife with distractions.
- For older children who are going with a group of kids, make sure they decide on a route in advance and you know what it is. It’s preferable that at least one adult accompany them, however.
- Set a time when your older child needs to be home and make sure he/she has a watch.
- If possible, send your child with a (fully charged) cell phone so he/she can call you if needed.
- Never go trick-or-treating alone. Always go with at least two other friends. Stay together!
- Remind kids of all ages to stay on a sidewalk, if available. If not, they should walk on the left side of the road where they can see oncoming cars. *Do not cross in the middle of the street, go to a corner.
- Have your children wear reflective clothing/place pieces of reflective tape on their bag/bucket and costume (making them more visible to drivers) and carry a flashlight or glow stick. Costumes should be flame resistant.
- Remind children to stay at the door – never go inside a home without your prior permission.
- Only go to houses with lights on inside and out.
- Avoid costumes that obstruct visibility:
- Masks should be well fitting – your child should be able to see and breathe easily.
- If you can avoid a mask and use makeup/face paint, do so.
- Secure hats and scarves to avoid slipping over children’s eyes.
- Make sure the costume is short enough to avoid tripping – same goes for accessories.
- Finally, remind your child they are not to eat any candy until they get home and you have the opportunity to inspect it.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children also recommends teaching your children “if anyone tries to grab them to draw attention to themselves, loudly yell 'This person is trying to take me,' or 'This person is not my father/mother.' Instruct your children to make every effort to escape by walking, running or pulling away, yelling, kicking, attracting attention and/or otherwise resisting.”
Halloween is a time of fun and wonderful silliness for kids; let’s just make sure there’s a heavy dose of safety added into the mix. Happy Halloween!