Halloween is a fun event that kids (young and old) look forward to every year. Around mid to the end of October, you’ll see a lot of Canadian homes spruced up with “scary” decorations. Many will also be preoccupied thinking about the most creative costume they’ll wear to parties or for trick-or-treating on the 31st. Newcomers will find that it’s a great occasion to meet their neighbours and join in on good, harmless fun.
As Halloween can be a night of mischief too, read the following tips to keep your kids and yourself safe during the festivities:
Are you a newcomer parent buying a Halloween costume for your kid for the first time? There are so many choices and you’ll have a lot of fun picking! Ask your child what they would like or bring them with you to ensure that you’ll get the right kind and size. You can buy from places like Superstore, Costco, or seasonal Spirit Halloween or similar stores all over the city. Remember that it’s likely that your child will use the costume only once. It’s either they’ll grow out of it or their interest will change the following year. Practical parents go to second-hand or thrift stores like Value Village, Goodwill, Plato’s Closet or Salvation Army for cheaper choices. Better yet, if you’re the creative type, make the costume with your child. There’s nothing more unique than a home-made costume.
Keep these safety tips in mind when choosing or making the costumes:
- Masks and face coverings can make it hard for your kid to see when they’re walking around trick-or-treating. Face paint is a great alternative but make sure that you’re using safe, hypoallergenic products (also make sure to wash it off before they go to bed). Don’t use materials like strong glue, large prices of glitter or glass shards, especially on skin. Check if wigs, beards, wings and tails are flame-retardant (check the package).
- Scarves, strings and ribbons can be choking hazards for the little ones. Look for velcro-fastened costumes instead. Also, long flowing gowns or heels on little witches or princesses can trip them when walking around the neighbourhood. See if they can walk properly before leaving the house (or shorten the length and let them wear heel-less, comfortable shoes).
- No culturally insensitive costumes, please! This means no ceremonial headdresses, blackface, or similar themes.
- October evenings are usually chilly so make sure that your kid is wearing layers and is warm enough to stay outside for some time.
- Brightly coloured costumes are great. This makes your child visible, especially to motorists. You can also stick reflective tape strips on the front and back of costumes to add visibility. You can buy this kind of tape at any hardware store.
10 Halloween safety tips, CBC/Radio Canada
Lighting and decorations
- Make your yard safe – Clear out your yard and the path going to your door. Sweep away debris or leaves to make it safe for trick-or-treaters. Secure heavy décor so that they won’t fall on people (it can be windy this time of year!).
- Don’t use candles and flammable materials – Use battery-operated or LED lights for your Jack-o-lanterns, monsters and other lighted decorations for your indoor and outdoor displays.
- Turn your porch light on– Illuminate the path with bright lights to help trick-or-treaters get to your door safely.
- Young kids need adult supervision – Kids below 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult when going around the neighbourhood. Older kids can go with friends but they should have a curfew. Equip them with a mobile phone so they can call you in case of emergencies.
Expert parent tip: Feed your little tykes supper before going out trick-or-treating. They will have the energy to walk around and won’t be tempted to eat the candy right away (so that you’ll have the chance to inspect them first for hazards).
- Set some rules – Plan your route before setting out (and check the weather!). Go into familiar neighbourhoods as a group and establish some ground rules like no running, criss-crossing the streets or straying away from the group. Also, remind the kids to be polite. No grabbing someone else’s candy and to always say “thank you!” when given treats.
- Bring a flashlight and extra bags to hold candy.
- Go only to houses that have a porch light on. Tell your kids to stay on the porch and never go inside a stranger’s house.
- Check their loot first before they open and eat the candy or use toys. See if the packages are sealed and untampered. Throw away suspicious-looking candy and loose gummies, candy corn or other food that are not wrapped. Make sure that they brush their teeth before going to bed.
Have fun and enjoy Halloween!
Sources: Halloween safety: Tips for families, Caring for Kids and 15 trick-or-treating safety tips to ensure a happy and healthy Halloween, Joelene Huber, Today’s Parent. Accessed October 18, 2019.
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