Halloween Safety

October is rife with holidays and fall activities, and every day brings us a little closer to Halloween. For children, it can be a great time to put on a disguise and spook out the neighbourhood. As your little ghosts and goblins prepare for another candy-hunting season, there are a myriad of ways you can help keep them safe and happy.

First, be prepared. Make sure your child is dressed in a pale-coloured costume or uses reflective stickers so that oncoming traffic and fellow pedestrians can see them coming. Also, keep in mind that masks often obstruct vision and make it difficult for children to breathe; use non-toxic makeup or face paint instead. Make sure any props your child carries, like a wand or a sword, are flexible. If your child falls, a flexible prop will give and be less likely to hurt them.

Strive for a trouble-free trick-or-treating session. If your child is 10 years old or younger, go with them on their rounds and try to be home before it gets dark. Older children who want to go out alone should carry a cell phone and go in a group if possible. Remind them to take a flashlight and only to visit houses that have lit porch lights. It is best to stick to the neighbourhoods that children are familiar with, but if they want to go to a new area be sure to emphasize that they should be wary of strangers. Once they get home, sort through the candy and toss anything with signs of tampering, any loose candy, spoiled items or any homemade treats.

Pumpkin carving can be a fun way to decorate the house. Never let your children handle knives, though. Instead, let them draw the design on the pumpkin and you can do the carving. Let your children get messy by scooping out the guts of the pumpkin by hand, rather than with a knife. Once the pumpkin is ready, illuminate your jack-o-lantern with a glow stick instead of a burning candle to reduce the risk of burns.

Be sure your home is safe for visiting trick-or-treaters by removing obstructions in the driveway or walkway. Provide a well-lit entrance and keeping your pets away from the children, even if you believe them to be harmless.

When driving on Halloween, remember that popular trick-or-treat hours (particularly for younger children) are during typical rush hour periods and in the early evening. Slow down and stay alert in residential areas. Driving with your full headlights on will help you spot children at greater distances, and help them see you sooner as well. Remember that costumes can block a child’s field of vision, so they may not see your vehicle. Be sure to be on the lookout for trick-or-treaters at intersections, on medians and curbs. Always enter and exit driveways carefully, checking your blind spots several times.

As always, if you attend any Halloween parties drink responsibly and make arrangements to get home safely. Happy Halloween!