Ghoulishly Great Tips to Help You Prepare for Halloween
Halloween is an exciting time for little ghosts, witches and fairies. Festive traditions can include parties at home or other locations as well as canvassing local neighbourhoods in the quest for that perfect treat (or bags of them). When preparing for these activities, there are a number of things to keep in mind to ensure that children stay safe and everyone has fun.
If you plan to host a Halloween party, ask about any food allergies and be sure that those ingredients are not present in any of the food. There are also many websites that offer creative, healthy treat recipes options. Check out the healthy snack Pinterest board, for example (warning, some snacks are only healthyish, or in comparison to sugar based candy.)
Avoid the use of traditional candles, lighters and matches as they are fire hazards. In all the excitement, clothing or other items (i.e. curtains) can quickly catch fire.
If pumpkin carving is part of the festivities, have children draw their design on the pumpkins and have an adult do the carving. Instead of using candles in jack-o-lanterns, think about using a battery candle or small flashlight.
Preparing Your Home for Trick-or-Treaters
Homeowners can take steps to reduce the risk of injury to Halloween visitors, including:
· Turning on outdoor lights, and replacing burnt-out bulbs.
· Removing items from your yard or porch that might trip a child.
· Sweeping wet leaves from your steps and driveway.
There are also a number of healthier alternatives to candy that you can pass out to children, including: squeezable fruit pouches, pencils, stickers or colourful erasers. These items are also great options for children with food allergies.
When choosing a costume for your child, select attire that is labelled flame resistant. Also, loose or over-sized costumes pose a risk of catching fire (fire resistant doesn’t necessarily mean fire proof) and can also be a tripping hazard.
Select a costume that can be worn over clothing and can accommodate layering to keep your child warm outside. Some children might try to talk you into that great pair of high heels that would “work perfectly” with their costume, but standing your ground and insisting on properly fitting, comfortable walking shoes can reduce your child`s risk of injury.
Using make up as part of the costume instead of a mask will help your child see and breath more easily. A good practice before using face make up is to apply a small amount to your child’s wrist to ensure that they don’t have an allergic reaction.
Child safety experts recommend that children under age 10 be accompanied by an adult when they are out trick-or-treating. There can be a lot of crowds on Halloween night. In the event that a younger child becomes lost, sewing their name, address and phone number into their costume will help ensure they are returned home safely.
If your child is old enough to go out without your supervision, make certain they are travelling in a group of three or more. Before your child leaves home, discuss their route and what time they are expected to return home. Send a cell phone with them to use in case of emergency and to help them remember when it is time to return home. Remind them not to visit houses that are not lit and to never enter a stranger’s home.
It can be tempting for children to sample their treats along the way. Always remind children not to eat anything until they get home and their bounty has been properly checked by you for anything suspicious.
The fall brings darker evenings making it more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians. Dressing your little goblins in lighter clothing, placing reflective tape in visible locations on their costume (front, back and arms) and providing them with a flashlight will help children to be more visible to drivers.
Children can become easily distracted when they are out gathering their Halloween treats and may need a review of basic road safety rules. Before they go out (with or without supervision), remind children to watch for cars, to cross the street carefully and not criss-cross back and forth. Encourage them to finish visiting houses on one side of the street before crossing to the other side.
Note: Information compiled from www.parachutecanada.org/injury-topics/topic/C11 and www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/halloween_safety
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