This Halloween, celebrants of all ages and their families are encouraged to dress up in costume, go trick or treating, and attend parties. Yet, whether they are young or old, it is important to keep safety in mind while enjoying the festivities.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends choosing costumes that are fire-resistant. Additional guidelines include using nontoxic makeup, avoiding masks that obscure clear vision, and placing reflective tape on costumes or bags. Glow sticks can also be used to increase nighttime visibility.
Anything that may hamper movement, such as awkward footwear, sticks, or swords, should be avoided or altered to prevent slip and falls. Some people like to use decorative contact lenses with their costumes, but these may damage the eyes, especially if not obtained through an eye doctor.
Children who are under 12 years old need adult supervision when trick or treating at night; those aged 13 and older should go out in groups. If they are old enough to go out with friends, they should have cell phones and be instructed to call 911 in case of an emergency. Their phones should only be used for emergencies, since they are otherwise a distraction and can lead to accidents.
Trick-or-treaters should be taught to walk, not run, to the next house and to cross only at corners after looking both ways. Children should learn to make eye contact with approaching motorists before they cross. It is also important to never dart into a street, cross between cars that are parked, and to be on the lookout for vehicles that are backing up or turning. Other tips include the following:
Drivers should be aware that the most popular hours for trick or treating are from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., so this is the time to be extra vigilant and to maintain slower speeds when children are out. It is also advisable to keep younger drivers at home on the holiday, since their inexperience can cause accidents.
Clearing the path to the home’s front door is a smart move, since children and adults could trip on decorations, furniture, and other items. Pets should be restrained or kept away, since some may try to bite or jump on visitors. Any burned-out light bulbs should also be replaced.
Many families carve pumpkins for the holiday, but small children should not participate in this. It is safer to let them draw on pumpkins with markers and have the parents do the work. Candlelit pumpkins can cause fires, so they should be placed away from flammable items. Flashlights or votive candles present less of a risk.
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