Halloween is an exciting time for young children but safety still needs to come first, whether you’re carving that jack o’ lantern or trick-or-treating after dark. Follow these tips to make sure your kids have a fun, safe night of celebrating…
Safe pumpkin carving
• Don’t let young children carve pumpkins. Involve them in what you’re doing by letting them draw the face on the pumpkin, but carve it yourself.
• If possible, don’t use naked flames to light jack o’ lanterns – instead, use a small flashlight. If you don’t have a suitable flashlight, use a votive candle and position the jack o’ lantern well away from curtains and other flammable objects.
• Never leave it unattended or lit when you are out.
Check labels to ensure costumes, wigs and accessories are flame resistant.
Safe trick or treating
• Go with your child or make sure another adult will be present if your child is going with a group of local children. If your older child wants to go with friends, check the route they’re using, agree a specific time she should be home and plan for her to call you while she is out to let you know she is safe.
• Be seen at night. Plan costumes that are bright and reflective – add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
• Avoid falls by making sure trailing costumes are short enough to prevent tripping or entanglement. Don’t let your child wear a mask or hat that limits her field of vision or carry any kind of prop, such as a sword or cane, that could trip her or another child or hurt her if she stumbles.
• Use a torch to help light your route, and put fresh batteries in it before setting off.
• Give your children whistles they can blow if they become separated from you and can’t see you in the dark.
• Only visit well-lit homes and if your child is going with friends warn her not to go into anyone’s house or get into their car for a treat.
• Avoid accidents by using well-lit routes and walking on the pavement (if there’s no pavement, stick to the edge of the road and walk facing towards oncoming traffic). Cross roads at designated crossings and never cross between parked cars.
Home safe home
• Make your home safe for trick-or-treaters by clearing the driveway and front yard of anything a child could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
• Light the way by switching on outdoor lights.
• Don’t slip up. Clear wet leaves from steps, driveways and the street outside your home.
• Restrain pets so they don’t inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
• Feed them first! A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
• Offer non-food treats such as colouring books and crayons to children that visit your home as an alternative to sweets.
• Inspect your haul. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
• Ration sweets on the days following Halloween – and make sure those teeth are brushed after treats!