Well here we are again at the scariest of holidays, full of the spookiest surprises, piles of pumpkins and mountains of candy! It’s time to hit the neighborhoods and see what your fellow citizens have done to decorate their front porches and backyards – ghosts hanging from trees, a full on graveyard perhaps? Downtown Orlando where we are based is full of terrific places to trick or treat – the time and the trouble that many resident go to to set the mood is very impressive!
It’s a great time to hit the streets for some family fun so here’s 10 common-sense tips for keeping the night fun and safe for all ages:
1. Plan your route in advance. The length of your route should vary depending on the age of your children. Being prepared prevents arguments on the night of Halloween and it will prevent anyone from getting lost in the event that someone gets separated from the rest of the family.
2. Inspect all candy before it’s consumed. Any candy that appears to have been tampered with should be immediately thrown out. Remember that handmade treats may look nice, but are not safe to eat. All candy should be in its original wrapper for the safety of your children. This also gives parents an opportunity to check for possible choking hazards.
3. You can never have too much light. A flashlight will prevent a group from splitting up and avoid injuries. Reflective tape can also be added to costumes, treat bags, and coats to make kids clearly visible to drivers. You should be able to see everyone and everything, and everyone else should be able to see you.
4. Masks may look nice, but they can be dangerous. Many costumes come with masks, but the reality is that they can affect both your child’s vision and breathing. A safer alternative is to use non-toxic face paint to create a spooky mask.
5. Everyone should wear comfy shoes. Some outfits may seem as though they require high heels, but it is always best to wear a pair of tennis shoes. This will prevent everyone from getting hurt, as well as avoid having to run home to switch shoes. See also An introduction to the EPA’s WaterSense program
6. Choose routes with sidewalks. If possible, it is always best to try to stay on sidewalks and only cross the street at designated and well-lit areas.
7. Always stay in groups. Older children may want to separate themselves from their parents and younger siblings, but there is strength in numbers. Only allow an older child to go trick or treating without you if he or she is with a trusted group of friends that will obey all safety rules.
8. Never enter a stranger’s home. Reiterate rules regarding strangers to your children. Set a good example by being polite to the neighbors, but never entering their homes. You should also stress to your children that they may only go up to houses that have their lights on.
9. Keep costumes safe. Make sure that costumes are an appropriate length to avoid tripping. Keep accessories safe as well. Any knives, swords, guns, wands, or other props should be made of a flexible and soft rubber that will not hurt anyone.
10. Avoid candles. Decorations may look festive, but even a jack-o-lantern can cause a costume to catch on fire. Costumes should always be made from flame-resistant materials, and it’s best to avoid flammable hair sprays. You may need to take a little time to prepare ahead for Halloween, but these safety tips can help you make sure that the whole family has a fun and safe time.