Halloween Safety Tips for Kids and Parents
Halloween as a time for family fun is growing in popularity in the UK. Guising has long been a popular Halloween tradition in Scotland, but now we’re seeing similar festivities across the whole of the UK with trick or treating and Halloween parties being a highlight for kids in the dreary autumn term. However, whilst the greatest risk should be gorging on too many sweets and chocolates, there are unfortunately many other risks associated with Halloween.
Follow our Halloween safety tips for parents and our Halloween safety tips for kids to ensure this Halloween is remembered for all the right reasons.
Halloween Safety Tips for Parents
• Be Fire Aware: Of course, Halloween is a time for fabulous costumes ranging from brilliant bats to ghoulish ghosts. However, fancy dress costumes can pose a fire hazard. Claudia Winkleman had her own Halloween Horror when her daughter’s witches costume caught fire. So keep costumed children well away from naked flames or avoid flames altogether.
• Be Road Aware: Many Halloween costumes rely on dark fabrics to add to their spook-factor, and eager kids to get to their next sweetie haul aren’t going to be the most aware near roads. The combination makes for very real danger near roads. In fact, in America where data is available, twice as many children are hit and killed on the road on Halloween than on any other night of the year. So where possible, use light fabrics, add some reflective tape, and keep kids close and under control near roads.
• Paint not Masks: Masks might seem a great idea for a quick Halloween transformation, but the reality is they can be a trip hazard, especially as your child tries to navigate unknown dark house paths. Use face paints instead, and ensure your child looks great and can see where they are going.
• Get the Fit Right: Costumes aren’t designed for everyday wear, but on Halloween you’re asking a lot of them. Make sure they fit well without excess fabric from capes or dresses posing a trip hazard.
• Label Your Child: Of course you’re going to stay close to little ones when out trick or treating, but it’s remarkably easy to lose sight, in the dark, of excited little people moving from house to house in a group. Pop your child’s address and your phone number on their costume somewhere.
• Check for Choking: At no other point in the year would we gaily stand back as strangers hand our children sweets. For younger children particularly, do check their loot before letting them tuck in, and don’t let them run with food in their mouth.
• Head out Early: If your children are under their teens then you should be heading out trick or treating earlier in the evening. Later on and you risk your little ones getting scared by more sinister costumes of older revellers.
Halloween Safety Tips for Kids
It will seem like only yesterday that you were stood holding the sticky mitt of your toddler in their spider costume when that same child asks if they can go trick or treating without you. Here are our top Halloween safety tips for kids old enough to head out without you. Don’t forget that they should, wherever possible, follow the above Halloween safety tips for parents too.
• Go in a Group: If your child is ready for some independence, ensure they are within a group of at least three other people. There’s safety in numbers.
• Plan the Route: Ensure you’ve planned a route, with road crossing points, and reiterated road safety before they head out. If you’re unsure, follow at a distance so that they can have their independence but the safety net behind them.
• Give them Light, a Watch, and a Phone: Excited older children fuelled on sugar and the high of independence can quickly turn back in to frightened little toddlers if things don’t go to plan. Give them a torch and a phone to keep them feeling secure – but remind them never to look at their phone whilst walking along. Set the time they should be back.
• Reiterate Stranger Danger: Halloween is a bizarre time when our children are almost expected to flout the stranger danger rules. However, they can still apply. Remind them that they shouldn’t go with anyone they don’t know, or inside someone’s home or car. Instruct them not to eat any of their collected treats until they are home and you’ve had a good look.
• Tell Them the Unwritten Rules: Don’t expect your child with their newfound freedom to automatically know what is acceptable. Remind them only to go to homes which have a lit pumpkin or are decorated for Halloween, and never to actually perform a trick beyond perhaps a cheeky raspberry. Remind them to be polite and courteous.
Extra Halloween Safety Tips for Kids and Parents
The above tips cover the most important safety points for an enjoyable, if a little spooky, Halloween. However, here are some extra tips which everyone should bear in mind:
• Bags of Loot: Make sure each trick or treater is equipped with a suitable bag or container for collecting their treat. Non-secure bags or baskets lead to distracted children who aren’t safe near roads. Remember, to them their stash of sweeties is pure gold and if they drop one they are likely to break free from a hand to double-back and get it – even if there’s a car coming.
• Wrap up Warm: It’s well into Autumn, and dark – pop on layers under the costume if you don’t want to ruin the atmosphere with a ghost that is shivering for reasons other than spookiness.
• Never Zig Zag: It’s tempting to spy a house that looks in the spirit, and zig zag back and forth across the roads. However, each zig zag is a risk. Walk along a street on one side, cross safely, and then do the other.
• Be Allergy Aware: If there’s one in your party with an allergy make sure you are particularly aware of the loot they collect. Have some extra allergy-friendly treats back home to compensate for anything you need to swap.
Be Halloween Safe
By following the above tips you should be all set for a spooktacular Halloween. However, do remember that trick or treating isn’t the only option for a fright-funny night, especially with young children. Local venues often have Halloween events on, and of course you can always host your very own Halloween party instead. But if you do go trick or treating – Be Safe, Have Fun.
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