Halloween is one of the most fun times of the year for kids and adults alike. But with great fun comes great responsibility to keep it safe. Whether you need tips on costumes and trick-or-treating safety or want to decorate your home with care, here are some Halloween ideas to keep the entire family free of unwanted scares and happy with a bagful of ghoulishly good times.
Decorating and Cleanup Tips
When decorating for Halloween, keep safety in mind. Keep walkways and stairs free of obstacles and debris that might cause someone to fall. Keep these areas well lit also. Consider accenting walkways with landscape lighting and leave your porch light on during your town’s official trick-or-treat hours. Keep jack-o’-lanterns and other decorative items that may hold an open flame away from steps and walkways. Inside, keep these types of items away from curtains and other potentially flammable materials. Use indoor and outdoor lighting appropriately—indoor-rated light strings for indoors and vice versa.
On the day after trick-or-treating, you may have a mess to clean up. Trash and other debris could be left along sidewalks and other areas around your home. Wear work gloves to pick up trash and debris and put it in a garbage bag. And if you were unlucky enough to have been the victim of ghouls throwing toilet paper around your landscaping or if your walls or other surfaces were attacked with pumpkins, eggs or worse—don’t worry—it can all be cleaned up. Strands of toilet paper can be brought down out of trees with a well-aimed stream from a garden hose and then picked up and discarded in a garbage bag. Eggs and other messes can be cleaned off of sidewalks and siding with detergent, water and a sponge or scrub brush. If needed, you can also use a pressure washer for tough messes or stains.
Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips
As with most child safety issues, adult supervision is a must to ensure trick-or-treating remains fun. Children under the age of 12 should not trick-or-treat without an adult present. Teach children to cross streets at crosswalks and to obey all traffic signals. Remind them to look both ways when crossing the street. Enforce a stay-on-the-sidewalk rule or, if your neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks, instruct kids to walk facing traffic as far from the roadway as possible.
Give flashlights to children as part of their trick-or-treat gear. They’re fun and help kids to see and be seen by others.
Tell children not to enter a stranger’s house unless you’re around, and to remain in sight at all times. Avoid cutting through alleys and other dark, unoccupied areas. This might be a good time to revisit your “stranger danger” talk.
Let kids know they should not eat any candy they collect until you have examined it later at home. Kids love to empty their bags and examine their loot. This is a good time to look it all over before deciding it’s okay to eat. In most cases, homemade treats should be avoided just to play it safe. Unopened, commercially packaged treats are usually safest.
If you’re driving a car on Halloween, remember to drive slowly and carefully, keeping an eye out at all times for trick-or-treaters and other pedestrians.
Pet Safety Tips
Keep your four-legged best friend healthy and safe during Halloween by taking just a few simple precautions. Keep candy out of reach so pets don’t get into it. Treats like chocolate can be toxic to dogs, cats and other pets. Decorative items can become a hazard as well. If you hang lights and other electric decorations, keep wires and cords tucked away where pets can’t chew on them. Keep candle-lit pumpkins out of reach so a pet doesn’t accidentally knock one over and get burned or create a fire.
If your pet is the type that runs to the door every time someone knocks or rings the doorbell, keep it enclosed in another room or confined to another part of the house away from the front door.
When opening your front door for trick-or-treaters, make sure your pet doesn’t make a run for it. Keep ID tags up to date and securely fastened on your pet.
Halloween Costume Safety Tips
While kids’ costumes can be scary-looking, they shouldn’t be scary to wear. When selecting costumes, be sure they fit correctly so your kids can avoid trips and falls. If your kids’ costumes include masks, make sure the eyeholes are large enough so their masks don’t cover their eyes or otherwise make it hard to see where they’re walking.
When choosing a costume, select a light-colored one that is visible at night or attach reflective tape to the costume so your kid will be visible in the dark to motorists and other pedestrians.
Encourage kids to keep masks off when walking between houses during trick-or-treating, or consider face paint/makeup in lieu of a mask.
Glow sticks are a fun way to provide light so kids can see when walking. They also make them more visible to everyone else.
Any accessories such as swords or wands should be soft and flexible.
Remove any makeup before the kids go to bed to avoid any overnight irritation to skin or eyes. Usually water and a washcloth will work.
That’s it! Here’s to Halloween and the safety tips that make your “All Hallows’ Eve” a scary good time.
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