Halloween is a favorite holiday for many children and teens: the candy, the costumes, and the excuse for a bit of mischief add up to hours, or even days, of fun. Whatever your families’ plans are for the big day, safety is an important, and often overlooked, consideration.
Costumes for trick or treating need a few special consideration to help keep kids safe as they frolic in the shadows. Here are a few great tips for costumes that will keep them warm enough and easily visible.
- Release the Beast Within: Dressing for the weather is essential in many areas as temperatures drop quickly once the sun sets; Encourage your child to choose a costume that allows for warm sweaters or jackets and comfortable, warm shoes. Animal costumes are often a great choice as they are loose enough to allow layers underneath without detracting from the costume.
- Halloween is not for Hand-me-downs: No matter how cute your child looks in your old prom dress, costumes that do not fit can be dangerous. Kids can trip on long hems or become snagged and loose, trailing fabrics are also a potential fire hazard. Your child will want unrestricted movement by the end of the night: start right with something that fits.
- Stand Out from the Crowd: Halloween is a night to let your colours shine, literally; opt for bright, colourful costumes that can easily be seen in low light. Superheroes (or villains) are great choices because their costumes usually include reflective materials that catch the eye.
- Time to Glow: Glow sticks can be a great, fun way to add color and visibility to an otherwise dark costume; consider incorporating red glow sticks into a vampire costume or using green or purple for a witch to help them stand out.
- Don’t Mask your Excitement: While masks can be fun, they are better suited to parties than to trick or treating. Choose face paint instead to create your little zombie or monster and be sure they can see, and breath, properly. Buy hypo-allergenic face paints and test them on a small patch of skin a couple of days before.
Trick or Treating
Younger children are often accompanied by a parent and are less likely to end up in dangerous situations. School age children trick or treating without a parent or other trusted adult, however, should be given a set of rules to follow to ensure their safety. Excitement can cause children to forget to do everyday things like look both ways before crossing a street. Some rules to establish before your child goes trick or treating include:
- Always travel in large groups: A larger group means your child is a less attractive target for bullies or predators. The group should make sure to stay together and have an easy to find meeting spot if someone gets left behind.
- Avoid poorly lit homes: Many people turn off their lights when they do not wish to be disturbed on Halloween: Respect their wishes and look for the bright, welcoming homes instead.
- Obey traffic laws: Drivers in residential areas tend to be extra careful on Halloween but it is still important to exercise proper caution around cars. Just because you can see them does not mean that they can see you: Avoid jay-walking and crossing between parked cars. To prevent crossing the road more than necessary, work your way down one side first and then cross and finish the street.
- Don’t snack on the go: While candy tampering is rare, it can happen. Avoid being a victim by letting mom or dad check all treats before eating them. It can be hard to tell in the dark if something is sealed properly so wait until you get home and have a proper light to see by.
- Never enter a stranger’s home or car: No matter what day of the year, it is never a good idea to go anywhere with a stranger. It is a good idea to ask to borrow a cell phone from your parents or older sibling so you can call home if you get lost or need help.
Stay safe and have a Happy Halloween!
Emily Ramsey is a born and bred Torontonian with a love of Halloween, candy, and cats. She writes on a variety of topics including driving safety and criminal charges for the legal experts at Xcopper.com as well as any topics that catch her interest.