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Tips for a Safe Halloween
Kid love Halloween – the dressing up, the pumpkin carving and, of course, the candy. But Halloween can make parents a little nervous. The Mayo Clinic has some tips for keeping Halloween safe for your little trick-or-treaters.
Anything involving knives or other sharp objects is strictly adults-only. But kids can join the fun by drawing the design on the pumpkin. Alternatively, skip the carving and decorate with markers and glue-on sequins, googly eyes, feathers, etc.
If you carve your pumpkin, be very careful using candles to illuminate it. Place the pumpkin on a level surface far away from curtains or other flammable objects, and never leave a lit pumpkin unattended. Or simply avoid the fire danger altogether by lighting the pumpkin with a flashlight or battery-powered candle.
Finally, be aware that children – especially younger children – can be frightened by scary Jack-o-lanterns, costumes, etc. Keep your Halloween celebration appropriate to the ages and sensitivities of your children.
Halloween costumes should be made of flame-retardant materials and should be bright and light in color to increase visibility. If kids will be out after dark, attach some reflective tape to their costume so that drivers can see them.
Make sure that costumes fit properly so children do not trip. Similarly, avoid too-big shoes or high heels.
Also avoid masks, which can seriously impair a child’s vision. Use makeup or face paint instead. And nix the sharp accessories such as swords or wands.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult when trick-or-treating. And all children should stick to their neighborhood and to the homes of people they know.
If your children are old enough to go alone, set some ground rules about where they can go, who they can go with and when they have to be home. Remind them to stay on the sidewalk, only go to houses with lights on, and never go inside a house unless it is someone they know very well. Then make sure they have a cell phone so that they can contact you – and vice versa.
Tell your children not to eat their treats while they are out, and inspect the goodies when they get home. Toss anything that has torn packaging, is unwrapped or looks otherwise suspicious. And get rid of anything your children are allergic to or are too young to have.
Come up with a plan for rationing the treats. For example, you might allow them to pick out a certain number of pieces a day. If they have tons of candy, you could offer to let them trade some of it for something else, such as a book or a trip to the movies.
If you are welcoming young trick-or-treaters, make sure that your porch or front door area is well-lit. Remove toys and other tripping hazards from your walkway. If you have pets, control them so that they don’t escape or frighten the children.
Finally, if you are driving on Halloween, especially after dark, be especially alert for little goblins darting into the street.