This Halloween, as more kids are expected to get out and trick-or-treat, there are some important things to look out for—and it’s not just the ghosts, goblins, and other creatures that go bump in the night.
COVID-19 still remains a threat, especially with the Delta variant. Besides that, trick-or-treating while fun for kids, poses a number of hazards, from walking around the neighborhood at night to the candy they collect. If you skipped trick-or-treating last year, now might be a good time to brush up on these basic safety tips.
For trick or treaters
1. Dress for safety. Find ways to work in bright colors and reflective tape into your kids’ costumes. They’ll help your kid stand out in the dark – a critical safety measure if you’re in a place without sidewalks, but still a good idea either way.
2. Be mindful of your surroundings. Stay on sidewalks. Avoid dimly lit areas. Bring a flashlight. Don’t look down at your phones while you’re walking.
3. Go out with your kids. If your children are under 12, the best way to make sure they are safe is just to accompany them. This way you can also join in on the fun and dress up, instead of staying at home and worrying about them.
4. Have a plan. For kids over 12 have a plan that includes a predetermined route, whom they’re going out with, and a curfew. Kids should be equipped with a cell phone and a flashlight with fresh batteries. They also should be going out in groups and only going to those houses with porch lights on.
5. Keep it outside. Traditional trick-or-treating – going door to door, outside – is actually pretty safe as far as COVID goes. Just make an extra point of staying outdoors and avoid going inside for any treats.
6. Stay COVID safe. Still, in addition to staying outside, for added protection, the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends staying away from large groups and following social distancing.
7. Mask up indoors. If your trick-or-treating activities involve being indoors at all, it’s best to break out the masks again. Remember, children under 12 can’t get the vaccine yet.
8. Inspect the treats. Kids should have a small meal before they head out so they don’t stuff themselves with candy and other sweets when they’re trick-or-treating. Once they’re back, make sure no there aren’t any items that are not sealed, or have torn packaging. For younger children, throw out potential choking hazards like gum, peanuts, and hard candies.
For those hosting trick-or-treaters
1. Clear the entrance. Clear the path to your door of anything a child could trip over, like garden hoses or toys. If leaves or snow have fallen on your front steps, sweep them away.
2. Keep the lights on. This keeps everyone safe as they approach your house. Now is also a good time to check the light bulbs in any outdoor light fixtures.
3. Restrain your dog. Make sure jittery pets that could bite a kid or bolt out of the door are kept somewhere else in the house during trick-or-treating.
Even if you plan on sitting out this Halloween, you need to remember other people will be out and adjust your driving accordingly.
1. Exit and enter carefully. Hopefully, when you’re backing out of your driveway, you always check to make sure no one is behind your car. But be especially vigilant on Halloween and remember, trick-or-treaters could be milling around in the street if it’s a dense residential area. Do the same when you return.
2. Slow down. Go slower, especially check your speed when you’re in residential areas. Keep an eye out for trick-or-treaters.
3. Watch out for children. Be especially on the lookout for children crossing the street and, after dark, children who may be in darker clothing.
4. Teens should stay off the roads. Inexperienced drivers, such as teens, shouldn’t go out driving on Halloween.
Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to have a Halloween that is fun and safe, with just the right amount of fright for everyone.
Sources included: HealthyChildren.org, KidsHealth.org, Mayo Clinic, and ReadyNH.gov.