For many children, Halloween is a time to dress up in a favorite costume, go to classroom parties and trick-or-treat at neighbors’ houses.
These happy thoughts of jack-o-lanterns, costumes and candy may cause parents and kids alike to forget the potential dangers of Halloween. I have assembled the following Halloween safety topics for adults in order to keep this autumn holiday safe and fun.
• Costume. Whether you buy or make your child’s costume, make sure the material is flame retardant.
If the costume is not already a bright color, add reflective tape so motorists and other trick-or-treaters can better see your child.
Consider using face paint instead of a mask so your child’s vision will not be restricted.
Make sure the costume is not too long so your child doesn’t trip and fall.
If your child is carrying a prop, such as a plastic sword, make sure the tips are smooth and flexible to prevent injury.
• Route. Older children: Plan older children’s routes ahead of time, so you know where they will be. Also, set a time for them to return home. If possible, send a cell phone with them to use in case of emergency.
Younger children: Never let small children trick-or-treat alone. While walking your pre-planned route, remind them to stay on sidewalks and cross at corners or crosswalks.
Only go to houses where the lights are on.
Make sure either you or your child carries a flashlight if trick-or-treating after daylight hours.
• Candy. Provide your children with a healthy meal before they go trick-or-treating. This way, they won’t be hungry and will be less tempted to sample their candy en route.
Do not allow children to eat collected candy while they are trick-or-treating. Always check candy before they eat it, and dispose of any candy with an open wrapper or other suspicious appearances.
In addition to the above suggestions, I encourage you to teach your children basic safety knowledge. Common sense tells adults to look both ways before crossing the street, but eager kids on Halloween night may forget this basic safety rule. Also, it is good to remind children that although Halloween is a fun, exciting holiday, they still need to remember their manners and always say “thank you” when accepting candy.
Information provided by Nick Harklau Country Financial, 650 S. Prairie View Drive, Suite 200, West Des Moines, 515-223-7182