Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, but it can be nerve-wracking for parents.
Of course, all parents love to see the smile on their kid’s face when they’re in costume and about to collect a big bag of treats.
But parental concerns naturally set in at the prospect of your young ones trekking out into the neighborhood on a busy night and collecting candy that you don’t know the exact source of.
To help keep the night spooky and fun without being scary and worrisome, we’ve compiled some expert tips from federal and pediatric organizations to ensure your child’s safety -- and your peace of mind -- on Halloween.
1 Pick a Safe Costume
Set your child up for a fun night by picking a costume that avoids safety hazards. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following things to keep in mind when selecting your child’s outfit.
--Select costumes, wigs and accessories that use fire-resistant materials.
--Avoid masks which can obstruct your child’s line of vision.
--Select bright, reflective material, or adhere reflective tape, to your child’s costumes or bags if they will be out after dark.
--Make sure that the makeup you use is nontoxic, and completely removed from your child’s eyes and skin before bed to avoid irritation.
2 Know Where They Are
Knowing where your child is while they’re out will ease your mind while they’re on the prowl for candy. The family nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide advises the following.
--Chaperone your tyke if they are under 12 years old.
--Trick-or-treat in a group with friends and stick to familiar, well-lit routes if they are older and going out unsupervised.
--If they go out alone, make sure they have a cell phone with them. You can even set up a GPS tracker so you know their whereabouts at all times.
3 Be Aware of Surroundings
Here’s a scary statistic: children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. The trick-or-treat hunt can be exciting and distracting for kids. Make sure your child pays attention to surroundings when they’re out. Safe Kids shares a few important safety reminders for walking around on Halloween.
--Make sure your child only crosses the street at corners where there are traffic lights and crosswalks.
--Have them check left, right and left again before crossing.
--Make sure they keep their heads up -- not looking at phones or other electronic devices.
--Walk, don’t run, while crossing.
4 Pumpkin Safety
Nothing puts children in the Halloween spirit like a ghoulish pumpkin. But before you make the decorations, take heed of these suggestions from AAP.
--Small children should never carve pumpkins. Have younger children use a marker to draw a face, then carve for them once it’s drawn.
--Parents can consider using a flashlight or even a glow stick inside the carved pumpkin head. If you do opt for a candle, votive candles are safest with their manageable size.
--Make sure pumpkins are securely placed on stable tabletops away from flammable objects. Never leave one unattended.
5 Candy Is Dandy (But Be Safe)
You don’t have to wage war on candy. Halloween is once a year, and your kids should be able to indulge a on a night they’ve been looking forward to for a long time. But there are some steps you can take to make sure they don’t gorge, and stay safe in general.
--Give them a good meal before heading out for trick-or-treating so they aren’t too tempted by the treats while they’re out.
--Look through and sort candy with your children when they get home. Tampering is rare, but you should still inspect and dispose of any candy that’s old, spoiled or unwrapped.
--Be mindful of your child’s allergies if they have any. Inspect labels carefully for ingredients. If you’re unsure, play it safe and dispose.