How to Keep Kids Safe on Halloween
By Sandra Aris
Halloween is an exciting night for kids where they get to dress up as their favorite superheroes, animals, princesses, etc, and collect buckets full of candy. But while fun, Halloween can be dangerous for kids. From injuries running up and down driveways, tampered candy, and even potentially being hit by a car.
Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians, making them 3 to 8 times more likely to be fatally injured by a car. But letting kids run around and have fun on Halloween is not impossible, and parents can keep these easy tips in mind to be sure the night ends well:
1. Head out BEFORE dark
This doesn’t mean you have to trick-or-treat at noon but heading out while or before the sun is setting can give you extra time before it gets dark out so you can keep an eye on kids and make it easier for cars to see them crossing the street. Not only can you get a head start and get to houses before they run out of candy, but starting earlier rather than later can also be a good way to be sure younger kids don’t stay up past their bedtime
2. Check their candy at home
For many kids, especially those with siblings, sorting candy out by categories and conducting trades is a post-trick-or-treating tradition. While kids are looking through their stash, be sure to check their candy for evidence of tampering. While rare, there have been reports of kids receiving drug-laced candy, foreign or sharp objects in their baskets, etc.
An easy way to check candy is to see if it has been unwrapped, ripped or opened anywhere, if it smells funny, or if it is from an unfamiliar brand. While your kid might think they’re showing off their loot, parents can use this time to keep them safe.
3. Gear up the little ones
For kids just learning to walk, the excitement of running up a driveaway or stairs to collect candy can make them move faster than they’re used to. But a trip and fall doesn’t have to ruin the night.
Make sure younger kids have sturdy, well-supported shoes to walk in. This can help them keep their balance and prevent falls. But in the case of a tumble, Sandra Aris pants with protective padding on the knees and butt are a great way to help kids get right back up after they fall and go well with or under costumes.
4. Run through safety information ahead of time
For older kids that are heading out with a group of friends, it’s important to run through safety facts. Designate a curfew for when you expect them to be home, give a perimeter of safe neighborhoods they can trick-or-treat in, ensure they know to look both ways before crossing the street, and more.
While giving them their freedom is important, it can’t hurt to remind them of how they can stay safe. Something as simple as expressing the importance of using a crosswalk can save their life.
5. Add something bright to their costume
If you do plan on having kids trick-or-treat in the dark, adding something bright to their costume can help alert drivers of their presence. Whether it’s a glow-in-the-dark pumpkin bucket, a glowstick they can carry with them, or even reflective tape on their back. There are many ways to incorporate an alert signal to drivers into your child’s costume.
And although it’s not bright, another good idea is to make sure your phone number is on your kids, especially toddlers. It could be a piece of paper in their pocket, on a bracelet, in their bucket, etc. It’s important to also make sure your child knows where it is. This way if they get lost they can have an adult call you and help you find them.
About the Author
Sandra Aris, mom, and entrepreneur, creates protective clothing for children to help encourage confidence and resilience. After years working for and designing clothing at motor-cross and athletic gear companies, Sandra wanted to use her expertise to create a product that can stop parents from becoming overprotective and provide kids with the comfort they need to explore.