Trick or treat safety requires kids and adults to all get on the same page for a fun, safe Halloween
There are millions of potential trick or treaters hitting the streets this Halloween. They'll be collecting as much candy as possible, having fun with friends, and maybe even getting a little spooked out in the process. With so many kids out in neighborhoods around the country, though, trick or treat safety should be a big priority for everyone.
When kids go trick or treating, they naturally want to run out into the neighborhood and barrel toward any house with a porch light on. Whether you'll be walking with your little one or sending older kids out on their own, sit down with them and go over these safety tips.
15 Trick or Treat Safety Ideas
For Every Little Goblin and Ghoul
1. Plan ahead.
Figure out how far your kids want to go (and what's realistic). Choose a route that minimizes the number of times they'll have to cross the street, try to stick with well-lit areas, and steer them away from the busiest roads.
2. Set rules for candy collection.
Some kids will travel far and wide for candy, but set some strict ground rules. Trick or treaters should be taught to only go to homes that have a porch light on—and they should never enter a stranger's house or car.
3. Light the way.
After the kiddos have their costumes on, they'll probably need some help making their garb night-friendly. Lighter colors are best when it comes to trick or treat safety, but no matter what color they have on, find areas to place plenty of reflective tape or stickers. Also, give them glow sticks or flashlights so they can see where they're going—and so other people can see them, too.
4. Watch the length, width, and size.
A costume that worked for a Halloween party at school may not be entirely safe for trick or treating. Costumes should fit well and not be too long or too wide. You want your child to be comfortable and not pulling at an ill-fitting costume all night. Also, if the outfit is too long, they run the risk of tripping or brushing up against a lit jack-o-lantern on a porch step.
5. No decorative contact lens.
Companies make some pretty cool designer contact lenses for costumes, but they're not safe if they don't require a prescription. Most are not FDA-approved and can seriously damage your child's eyes.
6. Skip the masks, use makeup.
Traditionally, masks have been integral parts of successful Halloween costumes. Unfortunately, they're just not safe for going out to trick or treat. A mask can make it difficult for your child to see or even breathe properly. Instead of a mask, opt for some cool face makeup. Test the makeup before Halloween, though, to ensure your child isn't sensitive to the ingredients.
7. Adult supervision.
Safe Kids Worldwide recommends that if a child is under the age of 12, they shouldn't trick or treat without parental supervision. Once they're old enough to be out alone, make sure they're traveling in a group of kids in familiar, well-lit areas.
8. Stay connected.
If your child does go trick or treating on their own and they don't have a cell phone, consider lending them one so you can both reach each other easily. Depending on the phone, you may also be able to track their location to make sure they're following the route you two established earlier.
9. Enforce a curfew.
Some younger kids will tucker out pretty quickly, but if you have a child going out with a group of friends, make sure they know exactly when they need to be home.
10. No candy before home.
It's not uncommon for kids to eat some of their candy before they get home, but it really isn't smart when it comes to trick or treat safety. Tampering is rare—but it has happened so check all of your son or daughter's candy when the night is over. Look for unwrapped or homemade items, treats that look strange or discolored, or tiny holes/tears in wrappers.
11. Limit accessories.
Certain accessories can "make" a costume—like a sword for a pirate, for example—but they're not always a good idea for trick or treating. Accessories can not only be distractions but hurt your child or others. If your little ghoul won't give up on the prop, choose something that's short, flexible, and soft.
12. Prep for trick or treaters.
If you or someone from your family will be handing out treats at your house, create a safe space for kids to visit. Clear any walkways, put away lawn equipment or toys, don't put anything on your front steps (especially candles or open flames), and make sure your front porch light is bright and on.
13. Have a Plan B.
It's unlikely that you and your child will get separated, but crazier things have happened. Pin a piece of paper with your child's name, address, and phone number in their pocket just in case you lose each other. You should also make a plan together about what your child should do if you two do get separated.
14. Stay on sidewalks.
Only walk on sidewalks. If you don't have sidewalks in your neighborhood, stay as close to the curb as possible and walk facing traffic. Also, use crosswalks whenever possible.
15. Look for other kids, too.
If you are driving on Halloween night, take extra care while operating your vehicle. Drive below the speed limit in residential areas, eliminate any distractions (including the radio), and keep a close eye out for kids darting across the road.
Keeping your kids safe on Halloween requires common sense and a solid trick-or-treat safety plan. A little preparation before the big day can go a long way in protecting your children, their friends, and any young people in your neighborhood.
Even if parents are vigilant about safety, accidents can still happen on Halloween. Will your home insurance protect you if a trick or treater is injured on your property? Call your Pekin Insurance agent today to learn more about your liability as a homeowner.