“Trick or Treat!”
We are all familiar with this customary phrase shouted with glee by little ones across the country on the night of October 31st. Children (and sometimes even adults) in costumes, travel from house to house asking for treats and threatening to cause mischief if they don’t receive something sweet. This spooky holiday is all about scary tales, candy, costumes, games and pumpkins galore. Don’t get us wrong, everyone loves a good thrill and especially on Halloween, just not when it comes to child safety. This year, we’re all about having a safe and spooktacular All Hallows’ Eve. Keep your little zombies, princesses and pumpkins out of harms way with these five trick or treat safety tips for parents to remember and share with little ones to ensure an eerie night full of safe fun!
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When to go Out
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When it comes closer to the night of dressing up and candy collecting, you may be asking yourself, “When is the best time to take the little ones trick-or-treating?” We like to say not too early and not too late. Yes, we know that’s vague, but it’s true. The kids look forward to this night all year long and they are sure to be begging you to go door-to-door the morning of. You also don’t want to take them out too late because houses stop passing out candy and it can get dangerous. Keep in mind that popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 to 9:00 PM. Another great reason to go at this time is because a lot of people will be especially alert for kids during these hours. A general rule to keep in mind is to avoid going door-to-door passed 9:00PM. If you start early enough, by this time, the little ghouls will be all tired out anyways.
The anticipation is going to be high to see whom can account for the best candy at the end of the night, just remember to only trick-or-treat at houses that are lit. If residents don’t want to be bothered they will usually make that apparent by leaving their homes unlit. It’s also important to be careful and respectful, no cutting lawns and always keep your eyes peeled for any obstacles.
Go With an Adult
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Children under the age of twelve should always have a parent by their side when trick-or-treating. In fact, an adult should accompany children of just about any age, if possible. We know that this may not be the case with the older kids and teenagers. If they refuse to let you tag along(that’s so not cool mom,) require them to carry their cell phones and set ground rules. Encourage the older kids to have a plan and go trick-or-treating in a big group.
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Dressing up and picking what you want to be is almost the best part of Halloween. Your kids have a very wide range of options to choose from and your duty, as a parent, is to make sure that these ever-adorable costumes are also safe. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Decorative costumes with reflective tape and stickers are always a good idea!
- Make it easier for drivers to see your kids by having the little ones hold a glow stick or even a flashlight. They even have flashing necklaces and glow bracelets that are very convenient and can tie really well into a little princess’s costume.
- Watch out for paint or any other costume props or accessories that may obstruct your child’s vision.
- Make sure that the costume is the right size to avoid trips and falls.
- When it comes to costumes, we like to say, the brighter the better! Whether you and your little ones are making your own costumes this year or buying them from the store, go with an annoyingly bright colored material!
- Well fitting shoes are a must! While adorable in the store or at home, kids should not be wearing sky-high princess heels or too-large boots out trick-or-treating all night.
- Masks must be checked to make sure they allow for proper visibility and breathing.
- Only carry flexible props that won’t injure a child if they were to fall on them. You may even want to consider leaving play weapons at home when it comes time to go door-to-door trick-or-treating
Be Aware of Surroundings
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When it comes to trick-or-treating, stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups. Go door-to-door with your kids where you feel most comfortable, plus all the neighbors are surely looking forward to seeing the little ones all dressed up. A great idea is to plan a route out in advance and check it during the daylight. You never know where a crack in the sidewalk might show up!
Check the Candy
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We all love to give people the benefit of the doubt, but there’s never such thing as being too safe. Tell the youngsters that they are not to eat any candy until they get home. Once you and the trick-or-treaters make it home safely, inspect the candy in a well lit area. Look for anything that seems out of place including:
- Opened wrappers
- Ripped wrappers
- Loose Wrappers
- Candy with a strange smell or order
- Candy that has passed its expiration date
- Foreign objects pointing from the candy
You should never allow children to eat their collected candy before it has been inspected. Any unopened candy should be thrown away and unless you personally know the families that made homemade goodies, those should also be tossed as well.
Trick-or-treating can be dangerous. It’s important to stay informed and remember these safety tips when going out. If you keep these in mind, you and your little ones should be on your way to a safe, fun and extra spooky night of treats!
Happy almost Halloween!