Halloween is a night for fun, but for too many families, it can be a night of tragedy. While some of the traditional stories are exaggerated or false—no one has legitimately found a razor blade in an apple, for example—there are some scary facts about Halloween and kids, and not in the fun way. Twice as many children are hit by cars on Halloween than on any other night, mostly because more children are on the streets. Here are some safety tips for trick or treating:
- Young children should be supervised as they make their rounds. Trick-or-treaters should be in groups whether there are adults with them or not; it’s not only safer, it’s more fun.
- If you’re wearing a costume while serving as the adult, make sure it’s very visible and recognizable—homemade is better than store-bought to help keep the kids you’re supervising from wandering off with the wrong person.
- If you’re not accompanying your kids—because they’re with a trusted neighbor or because they’re old enough to go in a group of kids—know their route, know when you can expect them back, and make sure cell phones are charged.
- If you check in with your kids by phone, call rather than texting. They won’t be tempted to walk while texting when they respond, and you’ll be able to hear what’s going on around them.
- Avoid dark or black costumes for kids, or put reflective tape on the costumes and bags. Costumes with lighted accessories are also good. Even the Grim Reaper can carry a reflective or light-up scythe.
- Costumes shouldn’t impede movement, nor should they drag.
- Masks can block peripheral vision and make even seeing straight ahead difficult. Non-toxic face paint is a better choice.
- Turn your light out if your children are home alone. Halloween is no exception to the rule about kids opening the door to strangers.
- Children should not carve pumpkins without an adult to watch them.
- Don’t leave knives or lit candles around toddlers.
Don’t let the specter of danger haunt your Halloween. Using safety tricks can help make the night a treat.