Staying Safe At Halloween: These Steps Ensure A Fun Time For All

Children love Halloween. There is no other holiday quite like it: they get to stay up a little later than usual, dress in costume as their favorite superhero or goblin, and get scads of candy and other treats to indulge in for days.

In 2020, Halloween was effectively cancelled because of COVID-19. This year the country is in a different space, due to vaccination rates and safety protocols still in place. But we aren’t entirely out of the woods, and this year’s Halloween celebrations and trick or treat excursions should still include measures to protect everyone, particularly those who at a higher risk for Covid-19.

Following these guidelines ensures children stay safe when they go trick or treating. Some of these are related to COVID-19, but most apply during any “normal” Halloween year.

1. Be sure costumes fit properly so your child won’t trip and fall.

Ghost costumes, princess gowns and other outfits can be ill fitting straight out of the package. Make sure they aren’t trailing on the ground by hemming them up, or tucking capes into belts – any trick that allows your child to walk safely.

2. Check all treats before your child consumes them.

Be sure that all candies are well sealed and haven’t torn or split. This ensures freshness, but also ensures that the treat has not been tampered with.

3. Make sure carved pumpkins lit from within don’t present a fire hazard

Use a glow stick to light your Jack O’ lantern and you can place it anywhere – even on a window sill near curtains.

4. Be sure you know your child’s route.

If your child is trick or treating with friends or another family, make sure you know where they’re headed and how long they’ll be gone. Establish a curfew and make sure they are home to meet it. Talk to whomever the adults are supervising the group, and let them know your wishes regarding where your child can go, and where they may not. If you don’t want your child indoors at a party, no matter how small the guest list, make that clear as well.

5. A mask under a mask?

This is a safety precaution that you, as a parent, must decide for your child’s welfare. If you live in an area with low COVID-19 transmission, perhaps forgoing the layer of protection under a costume’s mask is acceptable to you. But only you are able to make that decision, so let science and data be your guide.

6. Take hand sanitizer with you and use it often.

If you are going with your child on their Halloween night route, be sure to bring plenty of hand sanitizer along. Sterilize your child’s hands frequently, as they will be in contact with plenty of folks doling out candy all evening.  Hand sanitizer is a must for dealing with the sticky fingers that come with Halloween treats!

7. Be sure your porch and sidewalk are well lit for visiting trick or treaters.

Be sure your porch and sidewalk are well lit for visiting trick or treaters. If you’re staying home so you can see all the wonderful costumes and excited children from all over the neighborhood, be sure the porch and pathway to your home are well lit. Strangers who don’t know the terrain can easily make a misstep climbing onto the porch when it’s dark. Be sure you have at least one bright light over your front door, and that steps and sidewalk are illuminated well.

8. Choose costumes with bright colors.

Little ones will be roaming dark streets, but that doesn’t mean traffic stops. Be sure your child is easy to spot by choosing a costume in bright colors. Another solution is putting a strip or two of reflective tape on the hem or back of the costume, or on their candy collection bag, like the tape cyclists use. That way, if your child is determined to go in all black as Darth Vader from Star Wars, they will still be visible to cars.

9. Be sure your child knows not to enter a stranger’s home.

Be sure your child knows not to enter a stranger’s home. Don’t scare them, of course, but simply remind your child that they are not to go in anyone’s home on Halloween, unless they have express permission from you beforehand.

10. Ask teen drivers to take a cab or subway that night.

If one of your children is a new driver, ask them to forgo the car in favor of public transit. Unless they are experienced drivers, navigating streets crowded with small children in costumes can be tricky. It’s wise to avoid even the small chance of a collision by keeping cars parked at home on Halloween.

Halloween is an exciting night for children of all ages, and this year, in spite of COVID-19, they can have just as much fun as any other year. Consider these safety precautions and others specifically recommended for your region, October 31st can be a rollicking good time for children and adults alike. Remember: wash their costume-makeup off thoroughly before bed, don’t let them have too many treats in one sitting, and everyone’s Halloween 2021 will be memorable!