Hallowe’en is a cherished tradition, but the excitement of the night can certainly cause children to forget how to be safe. Safety starts even before the children go out. The following are safety tips for children, parents and motorists.
- Do not let small children carve pumpkins. Sharp knives and little hands are a bad combination. Allow the children to dig out the insides and then draw a face on the pumpkin with markers. Have an adult carve out the face.
- Place your pumpkin on a sturdy table or the floor well away from where the trick or treaters will be walking. Make sure that it is kept away from flammable objects and materials such as curtains.
- Hallowe’en costumes should not have a mask. Masks restrict the child’s sight and their view of traffic dangers. Washable face paint allows a child to see their surroundings better.
- Make sure that the costume is not oversized, as the child can trip on the fabric.
- No oversized shoes or high heels.
- The costume should have reflective tape on it so that they can be easily seen by motorists. If no reflective tape is available, have them carry a flashlight or a glow stick.
- Small children should not go out alone. Try to go out “trick or treating” when it is light out and in a group. Children should always be accompanied by a parent or adult if going out after dark.
- Older children should plan a safe route for themselves and their friends to follow while going door to door. Set a specific time to be home by. Parents make sure your child is old enough and responsible enough to go out on their own and that they are trick or treating in a group.
- Stay in neighbourhoods that you know. Only go to homes that are well lit. If the home is in darkness, pass it by.
- Do not go into homes or apartments even if you are invited.
- Be cautious of strangers and vehicles on the street.
- Do not run from door to door and don’t cut across front lawns. There may be objects or other obstructions you may not see which could cause you to trip.
- Obey the safety rules when crossing the street. Only cross in well-lit areas.
- Children should not snack on their treats while trick or treating. Take your entire Hallowe’en loot home and have parents inspect it. Look for wrappers that have been tampered with, pin holes in packages, loose or torn wrappers.
If you’re suspicious, throw them away. Although homemade caramel popcorn balls, cookies and candy apples are nice and usually well intended by the giver, they can also be dangerous. Dispose of them as well unless you know and trust who gave them to you.
Tips for motorists:
- If you witness any suspicious behaviour, call police immediately.
- Drive slowly and be alert, especially in built up areas where children may be.
During the excitement of trick or treating, children may dart out from between parked cars.
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alley ways carefully.
Tips for Parents:
- Before the children go trick or treating, make sure that the child has eaten.
This may prevent them from eating their treats while out. Caution them not to eat anything before you have a chance to inspect it.
- It is recommended that a parent or responsible adult always accompany small children, even when in a group.
- If older children are going out without the company of a parent or responsible adult, know who they are with. Instruct them to stay together and stay on a planned route. Have them only go in areas that they are familiar with.
- Review the safety rules relating to traffic and strangers.
- Establish when they are coming home.
- Provide your child with a flashlight, or glow stick and at the very least, attempt to ensure that their costume is light or bright in colour and has reflective strips attached to it.
- When you greet trick or treaters at your door, make sure the area is well lit.
Pick up any obstructions such as garden hoses, bicycles, tools or other obstructions that pose a hazard. Clean wet leaves from your sidewalks.
- Pumpkins with candles in them should be placed in a safe location.
Let’s all have a Safe and fun Halloween.