We are approaching the end of October very soon and for some families that means cute photo ops at pumpkin patches, bone fire nights with s’mores, hayrides, touring apple orchards and plenty other fall festivities. Now comes the time for haunted houses, the latest superhero and princess’ costumes, parades, and buckets full of sweets. If your child is old enough to participate here are some tips on keeping them safe during their “trick-or-treat” adventures.
1. Plan Smart
If not many children live in your neighborhood or the weather isn’t permissible you might want to consider some alternative places to have your child show off their cool costume. This may even help you avoid some meltdowns if rain or snow comes. Consider indoor activities such as your local mall, libraries, community town center or Churches.
Planning ahead also should include a backup costume for the little ones. This week my daughter was the “itsy bitsy spider” during library story time. After readjusting her “legs” and webbing thousands of times for ONLY an hour the homemade costume was a done deal! Later that night I had to make shift a tail and pin it onto her cheetah onesie for costume number two. Fall time brings cooler weather so be sure to have extra layers available if needed.
2. Go Before Sunset
For the little ones, a routine is important! Try to find events that allow for you to keep your little one on the same bedtime routine. These events will most likely occur days before or earlier in the day. Checking your local city website for events is a great start. If you are welcoming the goblins to your home remember to put up a sign for them to knock so your little one isn’t disturbed while sleeping.
3. Safety Safety Safety
- Make sure your children know that they have to walk in pairs and that they are not allowed to run in between houses. Choose a costume that won’t create too many stumbles and falls. Make sure the size is right and that there aren’t too many accessories.
- Consider applying reflecting tape to the costumes and candy bag if it isn't already bright and colorful. Bring along a flashlight or glow stick necklaces/bracelets. Halloween may also be the perfect time for some cool led shoes.
Make sure all accessories like wigs and masks are flame resistant and that they don’t cover their eyes and block their view. Using glow sticks and flashlights will help drivers see you easier.
- Always make direct eye contact with the driver before crossing. Never cross in between cars or behind cars. Cross only at crosswalks as a group. If no sidewalk is available, walk as closely as you can to the curb/grass facing towards traffic.
- A child is more than twice like to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year.
- If your child is older (teens) make sure they know your cell phone number and how to call 9-1-1 if they become lost or have an emergency. Remind them to never enter a home or car for a treat. Only go to homes with well-lit porches and in familiar areas, they have been to before. Keep their cellphone close by, but do not allow the use of them while they are walking. Advise them to only cross in crosswalks as a group and never between cars or in alleys.
4. Sweet Treats
- Once you return home it will be difficult to limit the amount of sugar intake since sweets are a huge part of Halloween. Discuss ahead of time the rationing plan you have for your children so they won’t be disappointed after you’ve inspected and sorted their candy, that they can indulge in it all on 10/31.
Eat only factory made and wrapped treats. Do not apply any temporary tattoos received.
Small babies should not have any hard candy, small candy (i.e. jelly been), popcorn or gum. Also inspect for any choking hazards such as loose wrappers, small toys or stickers
5. Abandon Ship
-Some smaller children may become anxious by all of the decor. Preparing them by reading stories about Halloween or allowing them to have pretended play in their costumes days before can be helpful.
- If your toddler is no longer interested in wearing their costume or going door to door than allow them to pass out the candy at your house as an alternative.
Be safe! Happy Trick-or-Treating!
If you have further questions on how to prepare your child for Halloween or questions about symptoms they may have after indulging in candy (ie diarrhea) please reach out to one of our doctors at rowedocs.com
Author: Dr. Catricia Tilford, Pediatrician