Halloween is just around the corner and whether it’s your child’s first or tenth Halloween, we have tips to ensure a safe, healthy, and fun celebration!
The holiday is an exciting time for kids to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, enjoy candies and treats, and partake in the season’s festivities. But there are also extra risks to be aware of and precautions to follow. If you have a young child trick-or-treating, it’s important to have an adult accompany them. For older children, be aware of the route they’re taking and encourage them to stay in groups. They should also carry a phone with them that’s charged in case of an emergency.
Remind your kids about being careful on streets for oncoming cars and that they should always look both ways before crossing. Low visibility and distracted walking are common reasons for pedestrian injuries. It’s best to stick to sidewalks whenever possible and in well-lit areas.
As children are the most common victims of dog bites, teach your kids never to pet a dog at someone’s house or apartment without permission from the owner. It’s also important that they refuse to accept any candy or treat that isn’t properly sealed. Tampering is rare but it can happen. Double check the treats when your kids bring them home and throw out any unwrapped or suspicious candy.
Additionally, some treats can be choking hazards so keep a watch on your kid and let them know not to walk or talk while eating. Babies and toddlers should never be given any hard candies, popcorn, gum, jelly beans, or gummy bears.
For children with food allergies, extra precautions are necessary. Even a small amount of an allergic ingredient can result in a medical emergency. To avoid this, always read the ingredient labels on the treats your child receives. Some of the common allergens found in Halloween candies include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, and wheat. If your child does have any food allergy, make sure their teacher at school knows as it’s common to pass out Halloween treats in class.
While candies and sweet treats are always fun to indulge in on Halloween, you’ll still want to limit the amount your child consumes. Candies are high in added sugar and have empty calories. Consider only allowing your kids to have 1-3 candies in a day.
For a safe Halloween, there are essential things to keep in mind for your children’s costumes. They should only dress up in costumes that fit well. Avoid long capes and clothing that extend past their feet as those can cause them to trip, especially if they’re trick-or-treating when it’s dark. If they’re carrying accessories like fake swords, make sure they’re not sharp to prevent potential injuries. When it comes to any makeup or face paint, stick with non-toxic options and do a test patch on your child first. Some makeup can cause allergic reactions or infections.
Be careful with decorative contact lenses as these can be dangerous for the eyes and cause vision problems. Children should never wear any contact lenses without an eye exam and prescription from an eye care professional. For more info about the risks of decorative lenses, check out this guide from the AAP.
Part of Halloween fun is participating in festive activities and making decorations, as well as watching scary or Halloween-themed movies. Before letting your child engage in an activity or watch a film, assess their appropriateness as it relates to your child’s age. For example, small children should not be allowed to carve pumpkins or light candles. You can have them decorate pumpkins with markers and use glow sticks instead of candles. For films, check the ratings as some movies might be too frightening or violent for children and lead to nightmares.
While most kids enjoy Halloween, some kids, especially toddlers, can feel scared from the spooky stuff. Talk to them about how Halloween is all about pretend, but if they’re still uncomfortable, let them know that it’s ok to not be involved if they don’t wish to. They may also feel differently next year when they’re older!