On any other day of the year, what parent would let their child go to an unfamiliar home, knock on the door, in costume, and accept candy from a stranger? None! Talk about sending mixed messages.
In addition to teaching our children that Halloween is a special day that involves breaking the rules with mom and dad closely by their side, parents must take extra precautions to ensure their child’s health and safety during Halloween festivities.
When preparing for your Halloween celebrations, it’s important to remember that what’s appropriate for your ten year old may not be appropriate for your two year old. Until the early elementary school years, children can’t always distinguish between fantasy and reality, so while a ten year old may realize fake blood is “fake blood,” your two year old simply sees blood.
When choosing your child’s costume, you’ll want to choose it carefully. Be sure to opt for a flame resistant costume that doesn’t interfere with your child walking or seeing. You’ll also want to choose a costume that fits properly and allows your child to wear his own shoes. If the costume has any accessories like swords, they should be short and soft so they don’t injure your child or others should he fall. Attaching reflective tape to your child’s costume can also help keep your child safe by allowing drivers and others to easily see him.
While it may seem okay to wait at the bottom of the steps or walkway while your child goes up to the door, it’s generally not a good idea. Since you never know what will frighten your child (I still remember vividly our neighbor jumping out of the bushes and scaring us when I was 4 or 5!), you’ll want to be a hands reach away. It’s also a good idea to plan your trick-or-treating route in advance, only visit the houses of people you know and teach your child that they shouldn’t go into a house alone, even if they’re invited.
While your child is going to want to eat some of the candy he’s collecting, it isn’t a good idea until you’ve had a chance to closely examine it (or switch it out) first. To avoid tears, pack along some special treats to give your child when he asks for candy. It’s also a good idea to toss any homemade treats that were made by someone he doesn’t know very well.
While Halloween can be a fun day for the family, it doesn’t come without some major safety concerns. Fortunately with a little planning and forethought, you can minimize the safety risks and maximize the fun.