Halloween is a holiday that is loved by so many, and of all ages. Trick or treating is, of course, the highlight for many kids… what kid doesn’t love throwing on a costume, walking with their friends around the neighborhood while collecting loads of all your favorite candy? I loved taking my candy home, dumping it out to organize and categorize, in alphabetical order (doesn’t every kid do that?), and then trading with siblings and friends. Here are a few safety tips for kids, pets and adults to ensure the night is everything they have imagined and more!
SAFETY FOR KIDS:
- Get fitted. When choosing a costume for your child, be sure it fits properly. Long trailing costumes might offer that “wow” factor but can also cause kids to trip and fall or be problematic if you are near any candles or open flames. Check that masks fit properly to avoid covering their eyes or restricting their breathing. Aside from safety, a comfortable costume makes trick or treating much more enjoyable!
- See and be seen. Keep those kids visible to you and any vehicles, and make sure the kids themselves can see where they are going! Send them with flash lights or headlamps to help guide the way… it will be dark, and they will be navigating more steps and sidewalks than usual. Try adding some reflective tape to their costumes or throw a glow stick, bracelet and or necklace on them (you can tie one on to their treat bucket too since they likely will have that in hand the entire evening). They come in all different colors so you can even keep with a color theme to know which kid is yours out of the pack of friends they are walking with.
- Stick together. It’s always best to trick or treat in groups. I find going in a group to be much more fun for kids and adults. Parents get to visit while the kids run from porch to porch filling those bags with treats, and the kids get to play in the dark with their friends. Older kids may want to go ahead of you and be a bit more independent, but still should stay in groups of 3 or more. Have a plan in place should they get separated for any reason as to where to meet. If your teen has a cell phone that you can ping to find locations, send that along too (just make sure it’s fully charged).
- Inspect their loot. Be sure to inspect candy before the little goblins, ferries or monsters gobble it up! Never eat of anything that has already been opened or is homemade (unless by someone you know well and trust). If your child has allergies, be sure they understand that you must approve of whatever they consume. This doesn’t mean they have to miss out on the Halloween fun, just that they need to take an extra step. Talk to them about what they can do with all of that candy that they can’t eat so they can still enjoy the experience of trick or treating. Send it to the troops perhaps? Just have them trade it in for their own special treat bag that is “allergy approved” once they get back home.
- Follow the light…and the crowds! Stay on well-lit sidewalks and streets. Avoid any dark driveways or houses. Staying in your own neighborhood is usually the safest bet. You know your way around as do your children. If you are in an unfamiliar area, stick with the masses - this is not the time to go against the flow. Go to the homes that are well lit and inviting.
SAFETY FOR PETS:
- Find a safe haven. The constant ringing of the doorbell, knocking and kids squealing “trick or treat” can upset even the friendliest pet and send them into a panic. Find a comfortable place for them to tuck away in another room until the parade of costumes at your door has come to an end.
- ID Required! Even when you take all necessary precautions, accidents happen. Spooked pets may dart for the door faster than you can anticipate and get lost outside. Keep the collar on and be sure all of the contact information is up to date. If your pet is microchipped, be sure all data is up to date!
- No sugar for fur babies! Make sure the kids know that it is not safe to feed them the goodies from their loot bags and keep candy bowls out of reach! A late-night visit to the animal hospital can put a damper on the holiday.
- Costumes Optional. If your pet fights their costume, take it off. Forcing a costume can create anxiety for your pet. Many pets just prefer to go au naturel and show off that fur coat.
SAFETY TIPS FOR ADULTS:
- Stick with battery operated candles for jack-o-lanterns They still illuminate your beautifully carved masterpiece, but without the fire hazard.
- Leave the light on. Minimize any hazards for those trick or treaters at your door by keeping your walkway & porch clear and well lit.
- Drive SAFE & SLOW! Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic on Halloween, especially on residential streets. Keep in mind that the popular trick or treating hours begin as early as 5pm for the younger kids which is also rush hour. Take your time and be sure your lights are on earlier than usual.
- Lock your door in between trick or treaters. Halloween can be a great invitation for someone to scope out your house. Whether you do have one or not, putting a sign in the yard indicating you have a security system is a great way to discourage an intruder from coming back for a second visit.
We hope you and your little goblins have a safe and fun Halloween. We’d love to see photos of your home or family all decked out! Be sure to post in social media and tag us at #APMFamily or #APMHalloween.
-Guest Blogger: Laura Clavero, American Pacific Mortgage Processing Manager