"Trick or Treat!"
These are three little words that lots of children look forward to howling on Halloween night. Their main focus is wearing their costumes and collecting their treats.
As a parent, however, their safety is your number one priority. Here are 10 safety tips that will ensure that your kids' return from trick or treating safe and sound.
1. Plan your route in advance
It's best to trick or treat in areas close to you or safe neighborhoods that you're familiar with. Make sure that you have a clear idea of the route in advance. Check it out during the day and make note of any obstacles, like broken sidewalks, construction sites or other unsafe areas that could injure you or your little ones.
2. Make sure the costumes suit the weather
It's a great idea to think ahead and make sure that your child's costume suits the weather that they'll be trick or treating in. Heatstroke can be a life-threatening danger, (especially in South Texas), so you don't want them to get too overheated. Likewise, if it's cold outside, make sure you bring an extra jacket.
3. Only go to houses with lights on
Families often leave their lights off on Halloween night when they don't want to be bothered by trick or treaters. It's best to respect their privacy and avoid these houses. Also avoid cutting across their lawns and driveways during the night. You never know what could be lying in wait for you!
4. Get home by 9 p.m.
Keep track of time and try to avoid trick or treating after 9 p.m. Starting around 6 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m. is an ideal time-frame for trick or treating. By that time, the little ghosts, ghouls and goblins will have gotten all the treats that they want and will be exhausted from all of the activity.
5. Wear comfy shoes
Sometimes the shoes that are shown in the store or sold as costume accessories are impractical (or even unsafe) for walking around on Halloween night. Leave the Cinderella glass slippers or oversized hunting boots at the store. The best footwear for a night of trick or treating is sneakers and preferably sneakers that have already been broken in. The goal here is to be comfortable for the entire night while avoiding any falls or sprained ankles.
6. Walk with lights
Make sure your children are wearing something that's lit. You can even attach reflective tape to the back of your children's costumes so that they can be seen from behind by drivers. A simple flashlight can be great as well. Some other great options are reflective bracelets, necklaces, and even light-up shoes! Just make sure your little ones can be seen clearly at night, even if you anticipate them being by your side the whole time.
7. Be mindful of costume lengths
Costumes that drag on the ground can be dangerous as they can cause your child to trip. No one wants an injury from a fall to ruin the Halloween fun! When you buy your Halloween costume ensure that the hem line does not pass your kid's ankles. If it does, make sure that you pin or hem it to ensure that they can walk comfortably and safely through the streets on Halloween night.
8. Be careful with masks
Some masks can impair your child's breathing and limit their eyesight. Spiderman masks are especially predisposed to doing this because they normally just have holes for the eyes and not for the nose or the mouth. If the costume would be incomplete without the mask, then you could simply cut the holes for the nose and mouth yourself or use non-toxic makeup to complete the Halloween look.
9. Avoid costumes with props
You should try to avoid costumes that come with props. If you simply must get the prop, make sure it's made from a flexible material like rubber or plastic. You don't want to be carrying around anything that will injure your child or other children.
10. Check the candy!
There rule for trick or treat candy sorting is: when in doubt, throw it out. Make sure that you supervise the sorting of the candy at the end of the night. Discard any candy that's not in its original wrapper, has an open wrapper or looks suspicious for some any other reason. Also, avoid eating anything that looks homemade. You won't have any idea what ingredients were used so it's better to err on the side of caution and throw it away.
Halloween can be fun AND safe...
Although everyone wants to focus on the fun of trick or treating, safety should be a parent's main focus. You don't want something truly frightening to ruin your night. Follow these tips and you'll ensure that your kids have a safe and fun night on Halloween.
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