Despite the predicted chill and wet weather for Halloween, costumed munchkins will still be hitting neighborhoods for yummy handouts. Thanks to Remington College Dallas Campus’s Criminal Justice Department instructor Dickey Harrison, here are some tricks to make their search for yummies a treat.
- Have children carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see while they’re out at night, and to help increase their visibility to drivers. For younger children who may not want to carry a glow stick or flashlight along with their candy bucket, consider a non-toxic glow necklace or bracelet instead.
- Make sure children’s costumes fit them properly. Baggy, loose or improperly fastened clothing could cause them to trip. It’s a great idea to do a “test run” with new costumes, to make sure children are totally comfortable wearing their costume for an extended period of time before the big day.
Trick or Treaters
- Use makeup instead of a mask. Masks can hinder a child’s vision, which is dangerous while they’re out trick or treating. If you must use a mask, make sure it fits properly, that they can see well through the eyeholes in every direction, and that they can breathe properly while wearing it.
- Teach children to walk safely. That means stopping and looking both ways before crossing an intersection, staying on the sidewalk whenever possible, putting away electronic devices while walking, keeping an eye out for cars and never darting into the street.
- Remember to drive particularly safely on Halloween as well, or whenever there is a Halloween event nearby. Halloween is exciting, and some small children may forget road safety rules on their quest for candy. Take extra time to look for kids, especially in residential neighborhoods. Be especially careful when backing out, turning, entering or exiting a space.
- Costumes, wigs, props and other materials should also be fire-resistant. On that note, traditional jack-o-lantern candles can be dangerous, especially for children. LED lights are a great safe alternative to use in your pumpkins.
- Go over general trick or treating guidelines with your children. I.E., knock on familiar doors, and if a house is dark or isn’t decorated, don’t knock. Never go inside of a house while trick or treating. Keep to the sidewalk and don’t cut through anyone’s yard. Remember, stranger danger applies every day of the year.
- Make sure children are properly supervised. Children under twelve should always have an adult chaperon, and older children should use a buddy system and be given clear directions on where they are allowed to go, what time they are to return, and how to contact you if there is an emergency.
- Check your children’s candy! While recent evidence from Snopes and other urban legend experts suggest tales of tainted Halloween candy have been widely exaggerated, you should still check all candy to make sure it’s fully wrapped, clean and safe. Dispose of any candy that has an open or torn wrapper, no matter how small the opening is. Check candy for discoloration, make sure it isn’t expired, and throw away all homemade candy unless you personally know and trust the individual who made it. Bring along a bag of your own candy to give to children during your walk so they aren’t tempted to eat the candy they collect before you get a chance to inspect it.
- Some houses may give out something other than candy, such as coins or small toys. Make sure these objects are age-appropriate, and clean them before giving them to your children. Remember, for small children, toys and many candies can be a choking hazard.