ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Halloween is a classic favorite holiday for kids everywhere. However, according to MayoClinic, it poses some serious safety risks–such as car accidents and injuries caused by candy.
Here are some tips on how to have fun and stay safe this season:
- Use bright colors. The lighter a costume is, the more noticeable and therefore more safe. If your child is out trick-or-treating after dark, try attaching reflective tape to the costume or treat bag.
- Dress for warmth. Make sure the costume is loose enough so your child can put on warm clothes underneath, but fits well enough so no one trips.
- Use makeup, not masks. Large masks can obstruct a child’s vision if it slips out of place. Use makeup to dress up the face instead.
- Beware of props. Swords, wands and knives can pose a safety hazard to other children.
- Avoid sharp objects. Let young children draw the faces on pumpkins with markers, glitter glue or paint. If it has to be carved, let an adult do it.
- Be smart with fire. Place the candle lit pumpkins away from anything flammable, and on a sturdy surface. If possible, try battery operated flameless candles.
- Accompany the group. Any kids age 12 and under should go trick or treating with an adult present. Put a piece of paper with the your child’s name, address and phone number in case of a separation. Get your older kids to take a buddy with them and make sure someone has a flashlight.
- Set up a plan. If your child is going trick-or-treating alone, establish a route and set a curfew. Give out rules like staying with the group and walking only on the sidewalk, and have your child carry a phone in case of emergency.
- Give candy out in portions. After inspecting the candy is sealed and safe for your child to eat, ration it out to a few pieces at a time. Ask if there is something your child would like to trade in the candy for, such as a toy or a book, to avoid extra sugar intake.
Preparing for trick-or-treaters
- Inspect the area for hazardous items. Make sure you clean up the area where kids will be coming to trick-or-treat by putting away any extra items and clearing debris.
- Keep the space safe. Make sure kids can see the walkway and keep any pets inside in case of an accident.
- Consider candy substitutes. Try stickers, spooky pencils or toys instead of sugary sweets.
If you are driving this Halloween, try watching for children crossing the street and be especially careful in dark places, such as driveways or alleys.
How to still celebrate Halloween during a pandemic:
Some parents may not want to let their children trick-or-treat this year given the risks of COVID-19. However, there are still plenty of activities to do at home while still celebrating the holiday.
Virtual costume parties and smaller group gatherings:
If you aren’t sure about trick-or-treating this year, consider planning a candy swap party with friends and neighbors instead.
Remember that a costume mask is not a safe substitute, and try to incorporate your child’s cloth mask by decorating it with non-toxic face paint and crayons.
You can also use video chat apps like zoom and FaceTime to see family and friends virtually while still getting to dress up and play games.
Stay in and watch movies:
Celebrate Halloween by watching spooky movies and dressing up as your favorite character. Do it with family members at home or via virtual FaceTime with your child’s friends. Be sure to start the movie at the same time. For age appropriate Halloween movies, click here.
Try decorating a pizza in the shape of a jack-o’lantern, or making cookies with Halloween themed candy, such as candy corn.
Outdoor community events:
Try staying outdoors by looking for local events, such as Halloween parades and designated candy giveouts. Be sure to socially distance and wear masks in places that have gathered a crowd.
If you go somewhere like a pumpkin patch or orchard, be sure to use hand sanitizer.
Be sure to stay safe and have fun this year. If trick-or-treating is cancelled in your neighborhod, get creative with spooky themes and hold your own party.
Right now during this pandemic it is a great time to teach your children the importance of staying safe and protecting themselves and others.
Learning safety could influence others in the community for years to come.