What are you going as for Halloween this year? Some people come up with creative, elaborate and timely ideas, while others stick to a "go-to" costume they can use again and again. Dressing up, going trick or treating, being with friends -- it's what Halloween is all about.
But being out on the prowl at night can bring challenges and concerns for parents of eager candy-seekers. Keep the little ghouls and goblins safe this Halloween with these 5 safety tips:
1. Don't be afraid to supervise
Being out on Halloween is both safer and more fun in groups, so trick or treat with adult supervision. Make sure kids walk safely and stay on well-lit sidewalks. Be sure to bring your phone in case of emergency but leave it tucked away in your pocket so you won't be distracted. It's still a good idea to check candy for any choking hazards or suspicious unwrapped treats. If you feel your kids are mature enough to handle being out without supervision, have them stick to familiar areas and trick or treat with people you know.
2. Be creative with costumes--but keep safety in mind
Every kid wants a cool costume. There are a few ways to make sure they stay safe in the outfit they want. Make sure costumes aren't too big or too long. This helps prevent accidental tripping or getting tangled up. Avoid masks that block vision, but if your child wears one it should have large eye, nose and mouth openings. You can opt for makeup or face paint as an alternative, just be sure to remove makeup quickly when they're done to prevent skin and eye irritation. Costumes, wigs and accessories should contain a label indicating they're flame resistant.
3. Drivers use extra caution
Kids are unpredictable, so drive slowly and carefully in residential neighborhoods. People will be walking everywhere -- take note especially when pulling out of a driveway and *obviously* don't text and drive. Many people will be wearing dark clothing that's hard to notice. Turn your headlights on earlier than you normally would to make it easier to spot children at greater distances. The National Safety Council's research shows that lack of visibility in nighttime conditions around road crossings and intersections accounted for about 18% of pedestrian road crossing deaths.
4. Stay vigilant against vandalism
People do crazy things on Halloween. If you're out and about, try parking your car inside if you can. If you're going to be away from your house for a while, make it seem like you're still home by covering your garage windows and leaving your curtains in normal positions with valuables out of sight. Trim any obtrusive shrubs or large trees before Halloween so trespassers have fewer places to hide. Another tip is to install motion-activated outdoor lighting to illuminate the area around your home. if you have a security system, make sure it's on and working properly. Most can directly alert police to intruders.
5. Be mindful of the candy you give out
This one can be easy to forget. Know what you're handing out, and who you're giving it to. If your neighborhood has a lot of small children, it's probably best to stay away from hard candy that may be a choking hazard. And not all kids can eat the same kinds of candy, so variety is a good thing when choosing what to buy. Many kids have peanut allergies, so maybe stay away from those or have alternatives available. If you have candy left over, then there's more for you!