Make this Year’s Halloween Night a Safe One
Ghost, ghouls, and goblins aren’t the only things parents should be wary of during the Halloween season.
While Halloween night can provide bumps and chills that delight kids of all ages, it also presents some serious safety concerns for moms and dads. Don’t head off into the dark of night without a plan to ensure your child’s safety.
Plan Your Route
Trick-or-treating can be chaotic. Kids are often on a sugar-rush and anxious to get to the next stop to get even more candy. If you are trick-or-treating with a group of kids, they may scatter across the neighborhood and get separated or lost. Mapping out a route will make certain that everyone is on the same page and reduce the chaos.
Ask your kids to create a map of the neighborhood that you can use to plan your route. You can even take the map with you on Halloween night as a fun reference for the kids. Websites like NextDoor.com provides an electronic map of your neighborhood with those who are participating in giving our treats marked.
As a parent, do some homework of your own.
If you haven’t already done a search for registered sex offenders in your neighborhood, now is the time to do it. You can usually find this information just by doing a web search for the phrase “registered sex offender” + your zip code.
If you find you have a registered sex offender in your neighborhood, avoid the street or area where they live. It will be difficult to see house numbers in the dark, so it’s better to just avoid the area completely.
In addition to planning out your route, it’s important to make kids aware of the potential hazards along the way. Take a family walk on your planned route and point out busy intersections, reminding your child that they must not cross without your permission.
Also look for potential blind spots where cars parked in the street might obstruct a driver’s view. This is a good time to let your child know that you only trick-or-treat at houses where the porch light is lit.
See and Be Seen
Most Halloween costumes tend to be made from dark fabrics. There’s no such thing as a neon yellow zombie. A small child in a dark costume can be impossible for a driver to spot at night. Adding a few reflective patches to a costume on the shoulders can help make it easier to spot your kids in the dark without spoiling the costume.
Handheld flashlights are another good option for making your child stand out in the dark. As a fun alternative, you might arm your child with a fiber optic light toy.
While masks are fun, they can also obscure your child’s vision. Consider a costume that doesn’t require a mask so that your child will have a full range of vision when crossing the street.
There Are Alternatives
For some people, neighborhood trick-or-treating is just too dangerous due to heavy traffic or other unsafe conditions. If that’s the case for you, there are many alternatives. If you work at a family-friendly business, you might suggest that the business does a trick-or-treat night where employees can bring their kids into the office for indoor trick-or-treating and games. Many shopping malls offer a safe environment for kids to trick-or-treat too.
Another option is to get together with some parents in the neighborhood and have a Halloween party instead. The expense of buying Halloween candy can go toward a fun party for the kids that leaves them with less sugary candy and more fun memories.
If you choose a traditional trick-or-treat night, don’t wait until the last minute to get a safety plan in place. October 31 is right around the corner and as always it will be a hectic night of getting kids fed and in costume before the festivities begin.
Your child is not likely to be able to focus on safety lessons with all the pent-up anticipation they’re experiencing. Take some time now to discuss these safety factors with your kids and make sure that you have all the safety supplies you’ll need before the big night.