Halloween is a favorite holiday among adults and children alike. The traditions of dressing up, collecting candy, and socializing with friends never grow old. Perhaps the most beloved Halloween tradition is trick or treating. With careful planning, trick or treating can be a safe and memorable ritual for everyone in the family.
Because trick or treating requires so much mobility, it is important to select a costume that will not impede safety while children move from house to house.
- Children’s costumes should always be fire retardant, since Jack O’Lanterns are often underfoot. This information can be found on the tag of the costume.
- The eyeholes on masks should be large enough to allow peripheral vision.
- Ensure that none of the costume drags on the ground. Oversize costumes can present a tripping hazard.
- Affix reflective tape to the back of a child’s costume. The tape will help car drivers to see the child more easily.
- It is important that props be made out of soft, flexible material like plastic, in case a child falls on the prop.
Choosing a Safe Route
Trick or treating requires children to enter unfamiliar territory. Even if they stay within neighborhoods they know, the terrain can appear totally different at night. Prevent injury by selecting a safe trick-or-treating route.
- Stick close to home, where children will know other trick-or-treaters and homeowners. Children then do not have to approach strange homes, and are less likely to encounter “bag snatchers” or other anonymous bullies.
- Stay in neighborhoods with well-lit sidewalks. Sidewalks not only keep children out of the road, but they also prevent having to walk through yards, where stray items like toys or garden hoses can cause accidents.
- Review safe practices for crossing the street before embarking on a trick-or-treating outing. Be sure that children cross only after looking both ways. Younger children should hold an adult’s hand to cross.
- Come up with a plan for repelling unknown dogs. While encountering a stray may be unlikely, it can also be dangerous. Carry a handheld dog repellent, which fits into a pocket.
Preparation for Emergencies
Preparing for potential emergencies and injuries can make an extraordinary difference in the trick-or-treating experience. Adults who accompany children trick or treating can carry a backpack that contains basic safety supplies.
- A first aid kit makes it easy to take care of minor injuries like cuts and scrapes. Be sure to choose one that includes both bandages and antiseptic wipes. An ace bandage is also a prudent addition, in case of rolled ankles.
- While it is often chilly on Halloween, insect repellant often still comes in handy for trick-or-treaters in warmer climates.
- Carrying a flashlight is a wise idea. If a child is injured, the flashlight can be used to illuminate the injury. Extra reflective tape is also useful.
- Bottled water and healthy snacks like peanuts will help kids stay hydrated and stave off the urge to munch on candy while they are trick or treating.
The right preparation, including costume selection, choice of route, and emergency planning, ensures that trick or treating is safe and fun for all members of the family.