By Rachael Towle
Between the Harvest Festivals, Halloween parties and social gatherings, this Halloween season could be very busy for you and your family. This is why all parents should make safety the number one priority while having fun. It also never hurts to be reminded of the precautions all Halloweeners should take while gathering candy.
Before leaving the house, every person going out to Trick-or-Treat should be dressed appropriately. Begin by making sure attire is weather appropriate. The cooler the temperature, the more layers needed to keep warm. These layers should be easily removed as not to interfere with the costume if it gets too warm. Any masks being worn should fit so that vision is not obscured in any way. Children can't be expected to be completely safe if surroundings can't be seen easily. Batman and Darth Vader costumes are popular this year, and their dark cloaks can make seeing trick-or-treaters almost impossible after the sun has set. Take the ultimate safety precaution by purchasing reflective tape and place it on the back of the costume, which can be done without changing the appearance or effect of the costume. It also helps to add reflective tape to the side of shoes to add extra reflective surfaces. If a car approaches your child from any direction, enough reflective tape will give your child shape and the driver will be able to see the children. Glow sticks and other accessories are also great ways to make sure you and your child can be seen in the dark.
When moving from house to house, children should refrain from walking in-between parked cars and ideally, should only cross the street at crosswalks. Some neighborhoods are easier to navigate than others, but it is always better to visit houses on one side of the street at a time. Keeping on sidewalks and driveways and refraining from grass and other soft areas will help prevents slips, trips, and falls. Holes and dips in the ground are hard to see in covered areas. Blacktop and concrete surfaces should be used for navigation as much as possible.
Only visit houses that are inviting. Houses without a light at the door or front porch, or without any light from jack-o-lanterns or other means or decoration should not be included in the list of houses to visit. Not only is it not safe, but obviously the tenants do not want visitors.
Although neighborhoods with larger houses in prominent areas are more appealing, it can be tiresome for smaller children. These houses take longer to go from door to door, ultimately causing small children to tire more quickly. If you drive to a neighborhood to visit, try to pick one with houses that are closer together to make the trip more productive with less walking.
Some of the best places to trick-or-treat isn't necessarily in a neighborhood going from door to door. Churches, malls and shopping center strip-malls often offer treats to those who stop by. Churches often offer forms of entertainment like "Trunk-or-Treating," where the parking lot of the Church is filled with vehicles where drivers give out candy from their decked-out truck beds and lawn chairs next to their cars. These are wonderful places to take children because the people giving candy may already be a friend, therefore giving parents a more trusted source of treats. Parents are also able to socialize and have some fun themselves, too!
We all know of the importance of screening the candy our children receive during Trick-or-Treating. Some communities offer free screenings with X-ray devices, which is an ideal way to make sure the stereotypical metal object hasn't been inserted into your child's candy. In addition to screenings, parents should check each piece of candy thoroughly before consumption. All candy should be wrapped or packaged well without any tears or punctures. Make sure the wrapper on the candy is still secure and bags are free of puncture marks or tears. If candy looks like it has been tampered with in any way, be sure to discard immediately.
Whether you decide to stay home and give out candy, or take a stroll or drive to your favorite haunts, be sure safety is first, no matter what! Enjoy your Halloween!
Copyright 2005 by Rachael Towle.
About The Author
Rachael Towle is the owner of The Parent Station, a site where Parents & Friends connect through community forums and parenting resources.