Do you know what’s more scary than ghostly creatures lurking in darkened street corners? The number of preventable accidents that occur every year on Halloween.
Many kids (my own included) look forward to Halloween as soon as school starts in September. As a result it’s a difficult balancing act. We want to keep our little ones safe, but we also want them to be able to enjoy the festive fun of one of the most anticipated nights of the year.
So to help you keep them out of harm’s way, here are five tips to keep your little trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween.
1. Send them out with a trusted adult
If your Tinkerbell or Iron Man is under the age of nine, then Safe Kids Canada says they are not developmentally ready to cross streets on their own; so be sure to send them out with a trusted adult. Between now and Halloween night, have your children practice looking left, then right, then left again when you go out on walks, and teach them how to listen for traffic as well.
Remind them about designated crossing zones (the ends of sidewalks and painted crosswalks) – in the excitement of getting to the next handful of candy, children can be tempted to dart out into the street. Even if your children follow the rules of the road on a typical day, it doesn’t hurt to remind them those rules still apply on Halloween. (You may receive a couple eye rolls. But, it’s worth it.)
2. Be fire-smart
Be fire-smart about costumes. There will be plenty of lit Jack-o-lanterns decorating doorways, and long capes are at risk of catching fire. Make sure the costumes are flame-retardant or choose one that doesn’t trail.
3. Make sure they can see and be seen
Make sure your kids can see and be seen. Opt for make-up instead of a mask. This might require some extra time and creativity when getting ready, but it eliminates the risk of visual impairment. If you can, use bright colours that work with the costume making them even easier for drivers to spot when they’re crossing streets. You can also add bits of reflector tape to the sides and back of the costume to help with visibility.
4. Be visible
If you have to trick or treat in a neighbourhood where there are no sidewalks, make sure you walk facing oncoming traffic. To increase your visibility to other drivers, it’s a good idea to carry a flashlight, pointing it down and to the front.
5. Set rules on candy consumption
Set rules around candy consumption to keep your kids safe. Tucking into your haul while out trick-or-treating is not a good idea, as it’s difficult to see if a package has been tampered with. You will want to stay away from a previously opened package or anything that has been punctured, as well as any homemade goodies; so save the treats for later and focus on enjoying the ambiance of the evening.