It’s October and, besides the advent of pumpkin spice and autumnal foliage, there’s a special celebration around the corner loved by adults and childhood. That’s right, it’s almost Hallowe’en.
Someone once said that they are thankful for Hallowe’en because it prevents the spread of Christmas from infecting earlier months of the year. I’m thankful for Hallowe’en because, as a parent, I have an excuse to dress up. My child loves it because of the candy.
However you feel about Hallowe’en it can be a fun, yet dangerous, time of year. A child is 4 times more likely to be hit and killed walking on Hallowe’en than any other time of the year. Shockingly, 12% of children under the age of 5 are allowed to Trick or Treat alone (WHAT??!?!?). Overall, only 1 out of 3 parents talk to their children about Hallowe’en safety.
Let’s change that this year. First of all, don’t let your 5 year old Trick or Treat by themselves. Secondly, read through this list with your little ghouls and goblins before you unleash them into the world of scares, delights and, of course, candy.
Halloween Safety Tips for Preschoolers & Elementary Kids:
- Costume SafetyYour child’s costume should not restrict their movement or vision. This puts them at risk of falls or not being to properly see oncoming traffic. As an alternative to masks, you can use face paint. Also watch out for sharp accessories since these can cause injury to your little one if they fall on them. Opt instead for blunt-pointed or rubbery items.
- Flashlights and Reflective TapeDuring this time of year, darkness creeps in earlier and earlier in the evening so prime Trick or Treating times occurs when it is dark out. Make sure your child is clearly visible by providing them with a flashlight, glow sticks or dressing them in a brightly coloured costume.
- Plan the RouteIf your child is old enough to Trick or Treat on their own or with friends, plan their route ahead of time. This way, you will know where they are going to be and set a time for them to come home. It’s been a while since I’ve Trick or Treated as a youngster but nowadays it’s nothing to send your kid out with a cell phone. In fact, most kids of independent Trick or Treating age own one anyway. By the way, 12 is the recommended age to let your child go it alone. Otherwise, they should be supervised by an adult.
- Stay off the Road and Check Before CrossingThis seems like such a banal rule and it’s likely your child follows it on a regular basis, but all sense of safety may be lost during the excitement of Hallowe’en. Remind your child to use sidewalks and crosswalks and to avoid running while Trick or Treating.
- Visit Well-lit HousesIf a house is dark on All Hallow’s Eve, it’s likely it’s residents are not handing out candy. Explain to your child that if there is no answer after ringing the doorbell or knocking twice then they should leave. Advise them to never bang on the door or yell. (On a side note: Explain to your child that if a basket of candy is left by the door, not to dump the whole thing into their bag. Not cool.)
- Never Enter a House or Accept a Ride from a StrangerWhile those sweet old grannies who insist your child step into the house are likely not a threat, you can never be too careful. Unless it is someone your child knows extremely well, they need to stay outside the door. Same goes for those offering your a child a ride. I know this sounds immediately creepy, but if it starts raining there are those that will offer a ride out of pure concern. Still, they should never accept a ride under any circumstances.
- Candy ChecksEvery year we see posts all over social media of dangerous items found in Hallowe’en candy. While the prevalence of this occurrence is actually extremely low, a few minutes of candy checking is worth the risk of your child being harmed. Tell your child not to eat any candy until it is brought home and checked.
Do you have any other tips? Please add them below!