Tips for a Safe and Happy Halloween
If you’re a parent in a new neighborhood, you may be juggling two major responsibilities today: 1) make Halloween fun for your kids and 2) make it safe (and not necessarily in that order). These are the goals of any parent, but become particularly challenging in a new neighborhood. Here are a few tips then, some garnered from law enforcement personale, to help you and your family enjoy the best of today’s special holiday—and avoid its potential dangers.
Localized: Increase the Safety of Your Kids’ Costumes
"On average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed during Halloween compared to other days of the year,” said Daphne Greenlee, Safe Kids coordinator at Mercy Injury Prevention Program in Illinois. “The most common hazard is drivers don’t see the kids in the dark.” Prevention is part of the cure for this hazard, so these ideas can help:
- Masks can obstruct vision and are more dangerous for that reason. Kids in dark costumes are already at risk when they walk on high-traffic streets. If they also can’t see oncoming cars, they are inherently more at risk.
- Kids should wear blinking necklaces and carry flashlights—turned on!—for increased range of vision as well as visibility to others. Pack extra batteries.
- Add stripes of reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags that will pick up headlight illumination, making children more visible to cars.
- Sew in children’s names and home phone numbers into costumes.
- If kids have outgrown parent supervision on Halloween, have them travel in groups, carrying programmed cell phones with ready access to emergency numbers.
- An additional caution: consider flame-retardant material for costumes. Kids will be near open flames on this night of jack-o-lanterns.
Peripheral: How to Minimize Risk, Maximize Fun Around You
- Check candy: even in your own neighborhood among people you know, it’s a good idea to double check your children’s loot for any wrappers that seem open or “homemade” treats, origin unknown. In many cities, local ERs/medical facilities will screen candy for free. Of course, that may mean your child’s candy has to be X-rayed, and therefore semi-radiated, but you must pick your poison.
- Aside from safe candy is the quantity of candy. Much as your wee ghost, cat, or pirate may fight you, you’re still the best judge of how much sugar really benefits your child in one sitting. Consider seizing candy once it gets home and parceling it out thereafter. As a giver-outer of treats in your neighborhood, you might mix mini-candy bars with pretzels or raisins…not to incur the wrath of your neighbor children, but to encourage their physical health. You can also opt to give out the well-loved sugary treats, but limit your offerings to one per kid as opposed to a handful.
- Hold hands with little ones crossing the street. The increased energy of a sugared-up kid on one of the year’s most exciting nighs can be a bit overwhelming. Keep a firm grip on your children to ensure they cross from curb to curb safely.
- Help kids understand why they can’t go into the homes of people they don’t know very well. Best bet for kids trick-or-treating without parental supervision is a plan to stay in a group and not enter any homes except their own or those of a well known neighbor/family. If you are in a new neighborhood and haven’t properly acquainted yourself with your neighbors, consider common ground like a nearby public mall, Zoo, children’s museum or similar.
Above all, we wish you a happy (healthy) Halloween!
Got other tips for the best and safest Halloween ever? Share them in the comments.
Photo Credit: Shakes for Me Blog
Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert